Kelly complains about use of "taxpayer dollars" on HCR ad, forgets Bush spent $12.6 million on ads


Megyn Kelly complained that a television commercial promoting health care reform was paid for with "taxpayer dollars." In fact, such expenditures are hardly unusual; indeed, the Bush administration spent far more money on similar ads to promote its prescription drug plan.

Kelly criticizes use of "taxpayer dollars" on HCR ad

Kelly cites critics who claim HCR ad was "meant to score political points," complains about cost to taxpayers. On the August 2 edition of Fox News' America Live, host Megyn Kelly said that the "White House continues to try to build support for that health care overhaul" and played video of an ad featuring actor Andy Griffith discussing provisions of the law. Kelly then stated: "That ad was paid for with taxpayer dollars, and some critics say it is just meant to score political points for folks who actually supported the health care bill. Will it work?" In the ensuing discussion of health care reform with Fox News' Alan Colmes, Kelly repeatedly remarked that the Griffith ad cost $700,000.

Bush admin spent far more on ads promoting prescription drug plan

Bush administration spent $12.6 million on Medicare ads. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Bush administration reportedly spent $12.6 million on a 2004 ad campaign explaining new Medicare prescription drug benefits. CBS News reported that critics questioned the objectivity of the ads, expressing concern about links between President Bush's re-election campaign and one of the firms working on the ad campaign.

GAO found that Bush ads did not violate appropriations rules. The Government Accountability Office examined the Bush ads to determine if any appropriations were "used for publicity or propaganda purposes within the United States not heretofore authorized by the Congress." In a March 10, 2004, opinion, GAO found that the ads did not violate appropriations rules. From the GAO opinion:

As we explain below, HHS's use of its appropriations to produce and disseminate the materials at issue does not violate the publicity or propaganda prohibitions in the appropriation acts. We note that HHS has explicit authority to inform Medicare beneficiaries about changes to Medicare resulting from MMA and, thus, its justification for the materials is afforded considerable deference.

Megyn Kelly
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