WebMD, the online publication responsible for delivering both helpful health news and terrifying descriptions of diseases and symptoms, reportedly partnered with the federal government in order to promote the new Healthcare.gov website. According to the Washington Times, the site has received millions of dollars in funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in order to “educate healthcare professionals about parts of Obamacare.”
The funding, however, which totaled around $4.8 million, was actually directed to WebMD’s Medscape platform, a site that is only accessible to doctors and provides them with continuing education on medical practices and other practical industry updates. Because the funds were not used to promote the Affordable Care Act through the company’s public site WebMD, the company is refusing to release the contract that it made with the government.
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, however, believes that the people deserve the right to see how much the government spent on articles that would explain how the new legislation worked.
“Disclosure and transparency would be a good practice for any recipient of federal funding to promote the administration’s health care plan. 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 by knowing the financial relationships,” Grassley said.
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While that rhetoric sounds like an encouragement for companies to be more transparent with their funds, Grassley likely wants to deride the federal government for spending so much money on explaining its complicated health care law.
According to Fox News, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also recently expressed support for WebMD without mentioning the funds directed to the company.