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With the debate over Medicare heating up in the presidential campaign, the Obama administration has partnered with local pharmacies to inform seniors about how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will benefit their Medicare coverage.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will provide information to several corporate pharmacy chains, including CVS and Walgreens, to distribute brouchures to seniors at more than 15,000 locations nationwide. The communications will focus on free preventive services and reduced prescription drug prices available under the health-care reform law, the department said in a news release.
"We know pharmacies are among our most effective partners in providing seniors with health information," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a conference call with reporters.
After GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney selected U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate this weekend, Ryan's proposed reforms to Medicare have become a central point of debate. The Republican campaign has portrayed the ACA as resulting in deep cuts to Medicare, while the Obama campaign has claimed Ryan's House budget would drastically change the elderly insurance program.
HHS Press Secretary Erin Shields noted in the conference call that the partnerships had been in the work well before the announcement of Ryan's candidacy, but the rhetoric employed by both campaigns in the last week indicate that Medicare will continue to be an important talking point.
As documented by The Huffington Post and ABC News, the Obama and Romney campaigns have already taken to the airwaves to criticize the other's plans for Medicare. Because seniors tend to have the highest voting turnout among age groups, most political analysts expect Medicare to remain a prominent issue in the campaign.