Business groups plan TV assault on Obama health-care plan
By Dan Eggen
A coalition of major business groups said Tuesday that it will spend as much as $10 million on television ads over the next 10 days attacking President Obama's health-care reform plans, arguing that legislation under debate in Congress will be too costly for small employers and will kill jobs at a time of economic distress.
Employers for a Healthy Economy, a coalition that includes the U.S. Chamber fo Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, will begin airing the ad Wednesday on cable networks, followed by spots targeting wavering House Democrats in the week after that. The campaign includes funding from the insurance industry and other major business sectors, officials said.
The ads will focus on the assertion that Washington should spend more time creating jobs and alleges that President Obama's health-care reform plans endanger the emerging economic recovery, business leaders said. Obama administration and liberal groups in favor of the health-care overhaul strongly dispute such claims, arguing that the legislation will help restrain rapidly rising premiums that pose a severe burden for employers.
The ad campaign comes as Obama makes a final push for passage of a landmark health-care reform package and underscores the deepening rift between the White House and major business groups, who are fiercely battling the president's proposals for health-care reform, financial regulations and cap-and-trade legislation. In a pair of fiery appearances this week, Obama ratcheted up his attacks on the insurance industry for opposing reform and called on House and Senate Democrats to take final votes on the proposals within the next 10 days.
R. Bruce Josten, the Chamber's executive vice president for government affairs, said Obama was using insurers as a scapegoat despite evidence that other parts of the health-care system are more to blame for skyrocketing costs. "The president wants an enemy that he can point out and hammer and that's what he's trying to do," Josten said in a conference call with other business leaders.Josten said the coalition will spend at least $4 million and as much as $10 million on the campaign.
Jeri Kubicki, vice president of human resources policy at the NAM, said the legislation does not go far enough in controlling costs and will burdening small businesses with additional taxes and regulations. "Unfortunately, our members think the core of this debate has centered on expanding access as opposed to controlling costs," Kubicki said. "We want to start over."
March 9, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Health Care
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