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New ad campaign touts preventive care benefits of health reform law

June 20, 2011|By Noam Levey | Washington Bureau

The Obama administration is kicking off a nationwide ad campaign urging seniors to take advantage of free preventive services such as cancer screenings made possible in Medicare by the new healthcare law.

The campaign — featuring television and radio ads in English and Spanish (see video below) — comes on the heels of a new report showing that less than one in six Medicare beneficiaries have taken advantage of the new benefit since President Obama signed the law last year.

The new law includes numerous provisions to encourage more preventive care, which many health experts believe is critical to controlling long-term health costs.

Among the services available to Medicare beneficiaries without any cost-sharing are mammograms, bone density tests and prostate cancer screenings. Seniors are also able to see their doctor for an annual wellness visit without being billed a copay.

More information about the services is available . Click on the link "Learn about Prevention.”

Despite the new benefits, however, the Obama administration continues to struggle to convince seniors to support the new law.

And the new public service announcement comes nearly a year after the Obama administration drew fire from Republicans for an ad featuring Andy Griffith in which the actor touted ways in which the new law strengthened Medicare.

Speaking to reporters Monday, Dr. Donald Berwick, who administers the Medicare program, said he did not expect a similar outcry now.

"Everyone is interested in prevention," he said. "I don’t think this is a partisan issue."

noam.levey@latimes.com

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