Insurers Join Public Debate With New Ad Campaign
The insurance industry so far has "stayed at the bargaining table and held its fire in the ad wars," but "now, the industry is speaking up, not with an attack but with a seven-figure, national cable TV ad buy starting Monday in favor of affordable bipartisan health reform that can cover everyone," Politico reports. "But make no mistake: The ads are sending a strong don't-tread-on-us message, not so much a shot across the bow of reform as a reminder of the industry's ability to weigh in at any time, with messages pro or con." The 30-second ads from America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) "pushes for bipartisan reform that includes affordable, universal coverage that doesn't deny insurance to those with pre-existing health conditions," but doesn't attack the idea of a government-run insurance plan - a proposal the industry vehemently opposes." The ad "will be supported by a complementary print campaign that is also set to launch this week."
They're not the only ones to get involved in ad campaigns. But "the generic messages supporting reform by myriad coalitions are decreasing as groups, while still generally supportive, are taking issue with specific provisions. For instance, AARP, the National Federation of Independent Business, Service Employees International Union and the Business Roundtable formed a coalition that spent months and millions of dollars prodding Congress to reform the health care system. When the House introduced its bill last week, AARP and SEIU supported it, NFIB opposed it and the Roundtable signed on to a letter that expressed serious concerns about it. It seems the coalition, called Divided We Fail, has been, in fact, divided. PhRMA, the drug industry's trade group, split the difference. It came out against the House bill but partnered with the consumer group Families USA to launch a $4 million, pro-reform ad campaign this weekend" (Frates and Brown, 7/20).
Meanwhile, "Organizing for America, the group affiliated with the Democratic National Committee that grew out of President Barack Obama's winning campaign, is expanding its advertising blitz to pressure House Members to support health care reform legislation," Roll Call reports. "Like similar 30-second ads released earlier this week featuring individuals sharing personal stories, the new ads carry a generic message of 'It's time for health care reform' as several people give personal accounts of why reform is needed." The ads run "in 15 media markets around the country, all in districts represented by members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee" and come "as Organizing for America is set to hold a week's worth of events dubbed 'Health Care Reform Week of Action,' which will feature nationwide efforts by activists to drum up support for Obama's health care proposals" (7/18).