HHS taps two firms to aid Porter Affordable Care Act campaign

WASHINGTON: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has selected two firms to help Porter Novelli promote preventive services in the Affordable Care Act.

WASHINGTON: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has selected two firms to help Porter Novelli promote preventive services in the Affordable Care Act.

The Health and Human Services Department division has tasked the agencies, Sensis and Campbell & Company, with reaching Hispanic and black consumers, respectively, about the bill. The federal department picked Porter earlier this month to launch a national multimedia education campaign about the law.

Conservatives have criticized both HHS and Porter for the contract since it was first reported by PRWeek on May 18, saying the federal government should not spend taxpayer money to market the Affordable Care Act. Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney has promised to “repeal and replace” the law, if elected. Meanwhile, liberal critics are upset the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services hired a firm that campaigned against the bill in years past.

An HHS spokeswoman said the department's contact with Porter is worth $17.6 million, while Sensis' budget is $1.5 million, and Campbell & Company will be paid more than $329,000.

Section 4004 of the Affordable Care Act mandated the outreach efforts. It asks the HHS secretary to fund the planning and implementation of “a public-private partnership for a prevention and health-promotion outreach and education campaign to raise public awareness of health improvement across the lifespan.”

Representatives for both Sensis and Campbell & Company did not return requests for comment.

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