Harry and Louise Return to Stir Up Health Care Debate

The National Federation of Independent Business has teamed up with several other organizations to sponsor a health-care advertisement to be televised during the Democratic and Republican national political conventions.

The ad will feature "Harry and Louise," who became famous in the early and mid 1990s for their roles in ads to defeat health care reform.

In the new ads, the couple at the kitchen table will remind America that they are still waiting "for a better way" when it comes to better health care. They also will promote health care reform as the top domestic priority for the nation's next president and Congress.

The small business group, alongside the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Hospital Association, Catholic Health Association and Families USA, will unveil the health-care television ad this morning at the National Press Club.

The ads are expected to air from Aug. 24 through Sept. 7 on national cable networks and local markets in Denver and St. Paul where the national political conventions are being held. The "multimillion dollar" ad buy also will be seen on Comedy Central, according to Stephanie Cathcart, senior media manager for NFIB.

Goddard Claussen, the ad agency that put together the original ad with the same actors, created the newer version. It can be viewed at harryandlouisereturn.com starting today.

By Sharon McLoone |  August 19, 2008; 10:00 AM ET Election 2008
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Poor Harry and Louise help defeat the last best chance to have a unified health care system. Why would we now believe the same folks will support the necessary and fundamental changes need to catch up with the rest of the industrialized and post-modern world?

Posted by: Harry | August 19, 2008 12:57 PM

Harry & Louise are still trying to obstruct reform. The ads are sponsored by a right-wing business group, the NFIB.

Principle 2 is that any solution must be private, rejecting the single-payer solutions adopted by every other western democracy.

Other principles include denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, and rejection of malpractice damages.

Read them yourself:

There are a lot of uncontroversial ideas included, like universal coverage, but they refuse to consider a single-payer system, the only way to actually provide universal coverage.

The US pays way more than other countries do and still doesn't provide care to everyone. If you look where all that money goes, you'll see that it goes to insurance company profits and administrative costs.

Posted by: Greg Ohio | August 19, 2008 1:35 PM

ONLY the Washington Post cites the National Federation of Independent Business WITHOUT telling readers who these people are or offering any real background info on this organization.

This flash drive journalism that lacks intellectual curiosity has got to stop. I am losing faith in the news media fast. It has become the "controversy/tabloid" media. Where can we go for real unbiased in-depth coverage?

Please tell me.

Posted by: Gary Bonner, Baltimore | August 19, 2008 4:45 PM

careHarry and Louise were worried about the govenrment chosing their doctors, so they helped defeat health reform. What they got was insurance companies chosing who, when and where they can get health care or just outright denying them coverage. It is time to take the for profit motive out of health care. That is the only way to reduce costs, increase availabilty and affordability.

Posted by: Doreen Suran RN, Bellevue, WA | August 19, 2008 5:46 PM

The "reformers" pushing these Harry & Louise ads want to maintain the bloated, inefficient status quo.

Their definition of universal health care is to drag the uninisured 47 million into the same hodgepodge of pick and choose you I confuse health insurance plans that pad insurers' and "health care providers" profits; think Massachusetts the news medias favorite model for universal health care.

We'll know "health care reform" has happened when we have universal healthcare with per capita health care spending on par with Japan.

Posted by: Rick Evans | August 19, 2008 7:52 PM

Maybe someone could let Harry&Louise know that because of the ability for monied interests to simply hire actors to play like "real" people and mislead the American public, propagandize talking points for the right wing shills and pass off a politicized message as informed and unbiased news, our society is destroying itself.
Maybe someone could explain to Harry&Louise, and perhaps the young lady who wrote this article, the reason that they and the rest of this country have a completely dysfunctional health care system. Is because for those who control it, it is the most profitable financially. The chaos created is proportionate to the wealth created. Suffering extorted for personal finical gain.
Maybe someone could explain to this young reporter that taking talking points from front organizations and passing them off as reporting is why the media in this country is an absolute joke! That her complete ineptitude and incompetence, while being dually rewarded is the whole purpose in what lays behind the ability of monied and unaccountable interests to drive public talking points with false, convoluted and most often the only most base of self serving motives.
This country has been hijacked and the people who should be in the best position to see it, and explain what has been done can not admit to themselves that the Emperor has no clothes.

Posted by: Average joe | August 20, 2008 1:05 AM

I'm NFIB's Senior Healthcare Advisor and would like to comment on several of the comments above:

1) NFIB’s Principles do not call for "denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, and rejection of malpractice damages." I give speeches all over the U.S. and always cite denial of coverage as one of the gravest problems facing small business owners and employees – and one most in need of repair. NFIB does not oppose malpractice judgments; it opposes excessive judgments and arbitrary judgments against doctors who have done nothing wrong.

2) Another writer says single-payer is "the only way to actually provide universal coverage." Switzerland and the Netherlands have universal systems with private insurers and providers.

3) Another writer refers to NFIB as "a right-wing" business group. NFIB is committed to working with any elected officials and organizations who want to support small business. For two examples, NFIB recently worked for more than a year with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) on drafting key healthcare reform bills.

Posted by: Bob Graboyes, NFIB | August 20, 2008 11:17 AM

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