The Corner

More on PR Woes at CMS

Patrick, your post on the new PR guy at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reminds me of this excellent piece by Avik Roy, which I discuss in my Obamacare column today. It was a CMS spokesman — Gary Cohen, director of something called the CMS Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight — who advised state insurance commissioners on the nitty-gritty of the “fix” Obama proclaimed last Thursday. As Avik recounts, No sooner had the president done his schtick on how it’s just the teeny-tiny individual health-insurance market that’s been affected by his lie inaccurate promise about being able to keep your insurance when Mr. Cohen sent out a letter to state insurance commissioners that mentioned the inconvenient fact that people who get their insurance from the employer market have started losing their coverage, too.

Turns out, in another stylish PR display of how to appeal to the audience you’re pretending to try trying to cultivate, no one at CMS or the White House gave the state insurance commissioners a head’s-up about the “fix” Obama was about to announce — a fix that cannot work without the close cooperation of those state commissioners (and probably could not work even with such cooperation). That one caused our friend Ross Kaminsky to quip at TAS:

Because the administration’s goal with their “fix” is to be able to blame insurance companies for Obamacare-caused turmoil, it’s not surprising that the chief executive of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners said that his group had not been asked for input on, nor warned about, the president’s proposal; they learned about it Thursday when the rest of the nation did. Now they know how President Obama feels, learning everything important from TV.

Yup. Here’s to Change you get bereaved in!

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