Ads Highlight Different Aspects Of Health Reform Debate
A coalition of union and liberal groups began running television ads designed to get "the attention of one particular television viewer: Sen. Kay Hagan," The Greensboro (N.C.) News & Record reports.
Hagan, a Democrat from North Carolina, is among the lawmakers who have expressed reservations about a public option.
"To pressure her and other senators, Health Care for America Now is backed by the AFL-CIO, ACORN, MoveOn.Org and the NAACP and has bought $1.1 million worth of television in 10 states, including North Carolina. The ads urge viewers to call their senators. Most of the other states in which the ads will run are home to members of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Hagan serves on the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, which has first crack at crafting a plan. Although the ad says generically, "Tell your senator - It's your health. It should be your choice," a spokesman for the group says the North Carolina buy is aimed at Hagan."
A spokesman for Hagan told the News & Record that he didn't know if Hagan would ultimately support the public plan or not and that she was concerned millions of Americans would drop their employer-provided insurance they have now and move to a public plan (Binker, 6/21).
In the meantime, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., has enlisted the help of close friend Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., for help in his re-election campaign by getting Kennedy to film a commercial with him, The Hill reports. Dodd has starred in a number of controversies in the last year, making his bid for re-election tougher than in previous years.
"Kennedy, perhaps Dodd's closest friend in the Senate, stars in a new television ad the Connecticut Democrat is running a year and a half before Election Day and vouches for Dodd's efforts to reform the nation's healthcare system. 'Quality healthcare as a fundamental right for all Americans has been the cause of my life, and Chris Dodd has been my closest ally in this fight,' Kennedy says in the ad, which is running in Connecticut" (Jacobs, 6/21).
Kaiser Health News looks at the newest advertisement from Health Care for America Now and analyzes it: "A new ad by a major activist group blames the health care system's ills on greedy insurance companies and promotes a government-backed insurer as the cure. But the diagnosis is flawed. With the nation's health care spending estimated at $2.5 trillion this year, even the elimination of insurers' profits and executive compensation would lower health care spending by just 0.5 percent. Private insurers spend more on administrative costs, including profits and executive salaries, than the government does, but the major causes of health care's escalating costs are the rising prices and the increased use of medical services, including hospital stays, prescription drugs, new technologies and doctor visits" (Rau, 6/19).