Health Ad Campaigns Emerge In Last Days Of Debate
As Congress approaches a possible finale to its year-long health debate, advertisements that attempt to influence the results have flooded airwaves, Time reports. "Across the country, groups on all sides of the health care reform debate have been targeting swing members of Congress with costly ad campaigns." Firms, industry groups, unions and advocacy organizations could spend $24 million this week alone, on top of $200 million already spent on health overhaul-related ads (Scherer, 3/16).
Groups backing a health overhaul are spending $1.3 million to pressure 17 House Democrats into supporting the plan, the Associated Press reports. Some of them supported earlier versions of the bill, while others voted against it. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, John Boccieri of Ohio, Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, Suzanne Kosmas of Florida and Scott Murphy of New York are among the targets (Hananel, 3/15).
Roll Call: Moveon.org is among those in the fray. The liberal group sent "an e-mail to its members that threatens primaries for [House] Members who vote against the bill and the release of a new six-figure national cable TV ad campaign that targets Democrats who are wavering on whether to support the controversial legislation. Among the specific targets are Reps. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), Scott Murphy (D-N.Y.) and Jason Altmire (D-Pa.). The group is spending more than $61,000 in Altmire's district, more than $36,000 in Murphy's district and more than $49,000 in North Dakota. Pomeroy voted for an earlier health care package passed by the House, while Murphy and Altmire voted 'no.' All three are now wavering on how they will vote later this week" (Gonzales, 3/16).
The (Raleigh) News & Observer: "Opponents of President Barack Obama's health care plan ran commercials on [North Carolina's Research] Triangle television stations aimed at Democratic U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge [of North Carolina], who is being targeted by both sides as the president seeks the final votes for House passage." The reports adds that "Etheridge, who voted for the health care bill last year, has not said how he would vote this time." Other ads are also targeting local supporters of the overhaul (Christensen, 3/16).
The New York Times: "Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group, is planning a major print advertising campaign to pressure rank-and-file House members to vote against the Democrats' big health care legislation unless it includes tighter restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions" (Herszenhorn, 3/15).
The Seattle Times: Not all attacks against overhaul supporters have swayed their views. "Rep. Adam Smith said Monday he likely will support the health-care bill that the House may vote on as early as this week -- despite being the subject of an advertising blitz by the U. S. Chamber of Commerce to kill the legislation" (Kyung Song, 3/15).
National Journal: Democrats had been worried about opponents of their overhaul outspending them in the final week of their push, but supporters of the bill are preparing to launch a $12 million ad campaign Tuesday. "The new ad spending, led by groups as diverse as SEIU, PhRMA, MoveOn.org and the Consumers Union, will counter millions the Chamber of Commerce and other GOP allies have spent over the last week -- an amount that had some Dems worrying their allies had abandoned the fight" (Wilson, 3/15).