Business Opponents Of Health Overhaul Ramp Up Advertising
Interest groups, including business opponents, are ramping up spending on advertising.
"Business foes of health care overhaul legislation are outspending supporters at a rate of 2-to-1 for TV ads as they grow increasingly nervous over a final bill," The Associated Press reports. "Led by the giant U.S. Chamber of Commerce, opponents of the Democratic health care drive have spent $24 million on TV commercials over the past month to $12 million spent by labor unions and other backers. That's an abrupt reversal from the vast spending advantage supporters enjoyed most of this year, according to Evan Tracey, president of Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political ads. More than half the opposition spending has been by the chamber." The chamber has also "circulated an e-mail to other business groups asking them to help fund a $50,000 study by a 'respected economist' of the proposed health care overhaul. The study would be used for a letter, ads and other lobbying efforts to argue that the bill 'will kill jobs and hurt the economy,' according to the e-mail" (Fram, 11/17).
CongressDaily: "Interest groups are ramping up spending on nationwide advertising as Senate Majority Leader [Harry] Reid prepares to bring his chamber's version of healthcare reform legislation to the floor for debate. The Employment Policies Institute, backed by Republican lobbyist Rick Berman, announced today it is adding $2 million to its healthcare ad budget, bringing total spending to more than $12 million. The campaign is running ads in eight states warning about the bill's cost and its potential consequences for jobs and the economy. Plans for print and radio advertising are in the works." The ads target senators from swing states who are key to passing health reform legislation in the Senate (Hunt, 11/16).
Meanwhile, "On the White House's official blog, Nancy-Ann DeParle, the director of the Office of Health Reform, rebuts recent claims by the insurance industry that the proposed health care overhaul would actually increase the cost of premiums," The New York Times reports. "'Despite being roundly and thoroughly debunked,' she writes, 'the industry lobby continues to release these studies and push their bogus conclusion about cost increases.'" DeParle also cites "an analysis by Goldman Sachs about the possible impact of any overhaul on the for-profit insurance companies. The companies' 'earnings could be cut by 50 percent over the next decade if the Senate Finance Committee version of health reform passes,' she said" (Abelson, 11/16).
The Seattle Times reports on seniors who are skeptical of a health overhaul. The health bill passed by the House "would bring about some unmistakable benefits for seniors," yet "many seniors remain unconvinced that health reform would be good for them." Polls show that "Americans 65 and older are less likely than younger people to support President Obama's health-care efforts and more skeptical that changes would benefit them personally. According to the September 2009 Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, people 65 and older were evenly split over whether they would be better off with an overhaul, while among those under 65, twice as many believe they would be better off than worse off." (Kaiser Health News is a program of the foundation). Many of those opposed are concerned about the "nearly $500 billion in spending cuts that are designed to keep Medicare solvent longer by reducing fraud, waste and excessive spending" (Song, 11/17).