Government Wasted $3.2 Million on Misleading Andy Griffith Obamacare Ads

Do you remember the good old days when $3.2 million was a lot of money?:  To the Obama administration it must be a drop in the bucket because that’s what they spent on those silly television ads where Andy Griffith is pimping Obamacare. Judicial Watch reported this morning that today that it has obtained documents from the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (embedded below) regarding the costs of the three Medicare television advertisements featuring actor Andy Griffith.

In the middle of a deep recession, when taxpayers have been complaining about the federal deficit, the Obama Administration spent $3,184,000 in taxpayer funds to produce and air the advertisements on national television in September and October of 2010 to “educate” seniors, caregivers, and family members about forthcoming changes to Medicare as a result of the Obamacare bill.

“Mr. Griffith is featured in three Medicare television ads and provided his services to the government at no charge pursuant to a gratuitous services agreement. These three spots, ‘1965,’ ‘Music to My Ears,’ and ‘Cozy Chair,’ are only airing in September and October 2010. The production for the three advertisements cost $404,000; the total amount budgeted for the national media placement is $2.78 million, which breaks down per ad to $754,000 (‘1965’), $1,112,000 (‘Music to My Ears’), and $1,390,000 (‘Cozy Chair’).”

In press statements touting the new Griffith advertising program the Obama White House described its purpose: “The Affordable Care Act [Obamacare] will strengthen the health care system for all Americans, but senior citizens in particular stand to benefit from the new law. And the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is getting a little help delivering the good news from a well-known TV star: Andy Griffith.”

Along with the waste of money just by doing the commercial campaign, it was false advertising. According to, the advertisements intentionally misinform the American people:

“Would the sheriff of Mayberry mislead you about Medicare? Alas, yes. In a new TV spot from the Obama administration, actor Andy Griffith, famous for his 1960s portrayal of the top law enforcement official in the fictional town of Mayberry, N.C., touts benefits of the new health care law. Griffith tells his fellow senior citizens, ‘like always, we’ll have our guaranteed [Medicare] benefits.’ But the truth is that the new [Obamacare] law is guaranteed to result in benefit cuts for one class of Medicare beneficiaries – those in private Medicare Advantage plans.”

Was this the best use of our tax dollars? Probably not, but getting a television icon to lie about the Obamacare bill is a master stroke of propaganda.

“Taxpayers don’t want their money wasted on propaganda for Obamacare. And it is a scandal that an Obama insider is involved in the contract for these misleading ads,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Taxpayers and Congress should be upset the Obama administration wastes millions of taxpayer dollars on this propaganda campaign at a time when the government desperately needs to tighten its belt. Even Barney Fife would see that these Obamacare ads are bogus.”


Jeff Dunetz is editor of the Political Blog The Lid, a contributor to American Thinker, Big Government,Big Hollywood, Big Journalism, and Big Peace, as well as being a Red State diarist

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