ObamaCare's latest black eye
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
ObamaCare has another problem (as if it needs one): a lack of transparency over a $4.8 million contract for teaching doctors about the health-care law that gives at least the appearance of a conflict of interest for a popular medical-information website.
The contract builds on an existing WebMD pact with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), reports The Washington Times. WebMD maintains it wasn't obligated to disclose this $4.8 million windfall because it concerns content for a password-protected, doctors-only online portal run independently of its news operations for consumers.
Yet as Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, says, “Even if certain content is not produced with federal funding, but the same company takes federal government money to produce other materials, consumers would be better-informed in knowing the financial relationships.”
Not disclosing this contract upfront fuels suspicions that WebMD and CMS are hiding something — and that the contract is influencing WebMD's news reporting on ObamaCare. Even if it isn't, WebMD has given its reputation a black eye — and CMS has added to ObamaCare's woes.
The decision by WebMD and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to keep this contract in the dark is all too reminiscent of Americans being told that Congress had to pass ObamaCare before they could find out what was in it. And such lack of transparency is one more reason — among so many — to scrap ObamaCare.
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