The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Health Care

Liberal Coalition Launches $1.2M Ad Campaign for Public Option

By Ben Pershing
On the day President Obama addressed the AFL-CIO in Pittsburgh, a coalition of liberal groups that includes several major unions launched a seven-figure ad campaign against health insurance companies and in favor of a public insurance option.

Health Care for America Now announced Tuesday that it would spend $1.2 million on an initial television buy, which will run for two weeks on national cable and local D.C. stations, and that it will run complementary print ads in major Capitol Hill publications for the next three days, plus a Web ad on political news sites. HCAN, which bills itself as a "national grassroots campaign" in favor of better health care, is run by a Who's Who of liberal organizations, including the unions AFL-CIO, AFSCME and SEIU and other players on the left such as Americans United for Change, the Campaign for America's Future and

HCAN's new TV ad, titled "How to Get Rich," takes insurance companies to task for increasing premiums, paying their CEOs millions of dollars and denying some treatments prescribed by doctors.

"If the Insurance Companies win ... You lose," the ad says. "We want good health care we can afford with the choice of a public health insurance option."

The spot hits the two major message points emphasized by liberal Democrats on and off of Capitol Hill. Many prominent Democrats, particularly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), have focused their fire on the insurance industry and encouraged colleagues to do the same, calculating that casting insurance companies as villains will help rally support for reform.

Many reform advocates also blame the industry for the fading prospects of a public insurance option, which insurance companies strongly oppose. The proposal currently being negotiated by the Senate Finance Committee does not include a public insurance option, and while the House reform bills do include that element, Obama has been clear that he can live without it.

The insurance industry, led by America's Health Insurance Plans, has complained about the "demonization" of their companies and countered with millions of dollars in ads of their own, touting their general support for the cause of "bipartisan reform."

Posted at 1:53 PM ET on Sep 15, 2009  | Category:  Health Care
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Public money for the public option. Just like there was private money against it. Makes sense.

Posted by: Gator-ron | September 15, 2009 7:02 PM

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