Rubio: Ad Blitz for Obamacare 'Blatant Misuse' of Tax Dollars

Tuesday, 03 Sep 2013 11:30 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida blasted the Obama administration for a proposed $8.7 million TV ad campaign to plug Obamacare and encourage people to enroll in new health insurance options, The Hill reported Tuesday.

Rubio called the pricey blitz a "blatant misuse of federal dollars," especially considering the uncertainty of the law. He urged the federal Department of Health and Human Services to halt the spending.

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The criticism comes as Rubio and some other conservative Republicans are threatening a government shutdown over funding to implement the new healthcare law.

"This blatant misuse of federal dollars to promote a fundamentally flawed law is extremely concerning, especially considering the extensive unknowns surrounding the coming launch and implementation of Obamacare," Rubio wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Rubio's office said the department plans to buy ad time in media markets including Atlanta, Houston, Orlando, and New Orleans.

Representatives of HHS didn't comment to The Hill or to Fox News, which also reported the ad plan.

The Hill noted the administration has said it planned a campaign to encourage enrollment. Officials have pointed out the administration of President George W. Bush also ran a public relations campaign, including paid TV advertising, when the Medicare drug benefit took effect.

The insurance exchanges are scheduled to open for enrollment on Oct. 1.

"While the administration should be abandoning this disastrous law, instead it is imprudently and blindly promoting poor policies that will harm Americans and American businesses, and misappropriating public funds in an effort to sell bad ideas to good people," Rubio wrote.

The push to encourage enrollment is on locally as well, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Maryland health officials announced Tuesday they'll partner with the Baltimore Ravens football team to help spread the word about the state’s health insurance marketplace.

The Obama administration had been hoping to partner with the National Football League to promote its signature health law, but the league balked after some GOP lawmakers issued a warning to sports organizations to avoid the issue, The Journal reported.

Maryland and many of the 13 states, along with Washington, D.C., that are fully running their own health insurance exchanges kicked their marketing campaigns into high gear this week, The Journal reported.

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