Harry and Louise switch sides in healthcare battle

July 16, 2009

They were fictional, but powerful opponents of the Clinton health plan.  Now they are joining the call for an overhaul this time around. HEALTHCARE/GRASSROOTS

Harry and Louise, the middle-class TV couple that helped kill the 1990s effort, have made a comeback in new commercials. But they’ve changed their tune.

The couple now says “it’s about time” for healthcare reform because more people are finding they can’t afford insurance. “A little more cooperation, a little less politics, and we can get the job done this time,” Louise says in the new ad.

The spot is part of a muti-million dollar campaign sponsored by consumer advocacy group Families USA and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Ads will run for at least three weeks, the groups said.

In their previous television life, Harry and Louise engaged in worried conversations about how the Clinton plan would affect them and fretted about its complexity. Insurers opposed to the effort funded that campaign.

The actors who play Harry and Louise appeared at a Capitol Hill press conference Thursday with Senate supporters and advocacy groups pushing for healthcare legislation now.

The new ad can be viewed at www.harryandlouise.org.

Photo credit: Reuters/staff photographer (Healthcare reform supporters rally in Kansas in July)


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I DO NOT WANT the Federal Government one payer health care plan. Why doesn’t the US CONGRESS and the US SENATE and federal employees go on this crazy scheme for ten years and let the rest of us know how they like it…instead of slamming it down our throats and keeping the cushy federal employee health benefits that were promised to the rest of us by President Obama in his last debate with McCain.

I am a working peon, who desamated my savings to pay my Cobra premiums while I was out of work. I just got a new job with health coverage. I took care of things myself becuase it is not the Federal Government’s job to provide me or every US citizen with health care.

I see that medicare and medicaid are fiscal trainwrecks, I have been to a pathetic delapidated VA hospital to visit my GrandDad, and although I don’t have a law or political science or medical degree, I can tell you I have enough sense to see that our federal government cannot effectively manage our money or our health care.

Posted by S. Nassar | Report as abusive

The deciding factor in implementing health care for everybody–LEGALLY–in America, is the Publics voice? Those who want to just follow the same old road, can do so with the profit taking commercial insurance. Those who would be satisfied with a government run health care program, can now start demanding it from the lawmakers. Those who see a Universal health care system, similar to most developed countries in Europe, should start informing every Representative and Senate politician starting today. Rationing in places like England, was caused by the major impact of uncontrolled immigration. I see–THE RATS–are coming out of the woodwork, using propaganda and downright lies about government run medical care?

The Special interest lobby, status quo have very wealthy fingers in the pie and do not want Health care for everybody? It’s a trillion dollar business like Cancer treatments. The pharmaceutical companies, AMA and others have very much to lose? Even many corrupt politicians are stockholders in this behemoth money machine. Most American working class can do–without– high premiums, pre-existing condition clauses. deductibles, co-pays that is representative of the wealthy medical care insurers. Whatever pertains to your family, you should start ruffling the indifferent feathers of the people in Washington at 202-224-3121 Just like illegal immigration , we cannot afford anymore to subsidize the business that hire them or the millions of illegal families.

Posted by Brittancus | Report as abusive

S. Nassar
They’ve been given the chance, they’re not biting. They get open, free market, individual plans for themselves while plotting to kill our chance to get individual plans. The insurance companies have been feeding off of government restrictions and incentives, and the current plans only expand their influence.

Am I the only one terrified that the insurance companies love this plan?

Posted by ProfElwood | Report as abusive

I am a little confused as to why Big Pharma wants this reform. I am with S. Nassar in thinking there must be some hidden agenda going on here. Just consider that while they are airing this little commercial, and setting up a little website, they are also spending almost 1.5 million dollars a day on things like keeping 2 industry lobbyists for every member of congress in Washington, or providing all kinds of memos and talking points to be repeated endlessly on talk radio and Fox News bashing the reform plans. Are they merely hedging their bets? As it becomes public knowledge that they are reaping gigantic, record profits at a time when it’s so hard for so many Americans that the federal governent has to step in, perhaps they are trying to steer public opinion back to their side.
Or perhaps their accountants decided that if everyone is forced to have some kind of insurance, there will be a lot more people going to the doctor when they see an ad for a new cholesterol drug, and this will make up for the losses incurred when the government has a few more millions behind it when it says it won’t pay the two million percent mark-up Pharma puts on their products.
You want to see real health reform? Check out HR 676.

Posted by Matt Mood | Report as abusive

It’s hard for me to believe that anybody is really falling for this sham. Come on people. “Harry and Louise” are actors mouthing words written by PhRMA–the pharmaceutical industry lobby.

To get some idea of what Harry and Louise are up to, lets review a little of recent battles PhRMA has engaged in.

Grandma has to cut her pills in half because she can’t afford to pay for the full dosage. She learns that she could buy the exact same drug from a Canadian pharmacy for half the price. Yay for Grandma, right? Nope. PhRMA spends millions on “lobbying” (read–“buying”) Congressmen to make the case that the Lipitor made by Pfizer in New York and sold to Canada is now a “dangerous foreign drug.” Sorry Grandma, we’re only trying to protect you from those dangerous foreign drugs.

And speaking of Canada, why exactly is it that the same drugs cost so much less there? Because those drugs are purchased by the Canadian government, which does what any large purchaser does with any corporate seller–Canada NEGOTIATES the price they will pay. So how come Medicare can’t do the same thing and offer Grandma a real savings? Because PhRMA spent millions lobbying (read–buying) members of Congress to explicitly FORBID Medicare from negotiating volume discounts. In fact, the so-called “Medicare Part D” prescription drug benefit was WRITTEN by PhRMA and is in fact a benefit ONLY to the pharmaceutical industry.

So what are Harry and Louise up to here? Harry and Louise are telling us just what a loving, caring organization PhRMA is while the guys in tasseled loafers prowling the halls of Congress are doing everything they can behind the scenes to lobby (read–buy) members of Congress to kill the only really meaningful part of the President’s proposed health care reform. The public option.

PhRMA does not spend money to promote good public policy, PhRMA spends money to buy influence and steer policy in ways to maximize the profits of the pharmaceutical industry. Don’t fall for it.

Posted by Tom Ryan | Report as abusive

Tell the president to keep his National Socialistic Health Care Plan. To cover all let’s just pay out right for them and let our private plans alone.

Posted by Toni Bence | Report as abusive

According to this segment on Bill Moyers Journal http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/072420 09/watch.html
PhARMA’s deal in this will slow down getting generics to the market. Currently, under the Hatch/Waxman Act some generics can come on to the market in 5 years. PhARMA’s piece of this pie will keep them from coming on for 11 or 12 years. So they’ll get plenty of money back on this investment and guess who will be paying for it? We will.

Posted by treetracker | Report as abusive

the reason there is so many people on welfare and so many without health-care is because the government wont do anything about illegal immigration if they would stop this and make companies only hire Americans these people could get off welfare and be able to afford insurance. the real reason behind the immigration is the government is using them so they cant punish others that are doing the same.untill we vote all of these people out of office that are for this nothing will happen

Posted by wayne | Report as abusive

ObamaHealthCare = Orwellian 1984 “Big Brother” Government.
This was NEVER about healthcare… It’s ALL about controlling your life.
The All-Seeing Eye Of The Masonics/Illuminati is coming together.
What will decent, honest Americans do about this evil plan?

Posted by The Truth Of The Matter | Report as abusive