Millions of dollars shelled out in TV ad war over U.S. healthcare
A TV ad war is raging on healthcare legislation. And it’s costing millions of dollars on both sides.
The campaign-style messages target Democratic and Republican lawmakers who will decide the fate of the White House-backed measure, and are up for reelection in November.
“Pass health insurance reform now,” declared an ad by Health Care for America Now, a coalition of more than 1,100 groups — including labor, civil rights, children and women. The group announced it had begun airing the spot on Tuesday in selected congressional districts at a cost of $1.4 million.
Also on Tuesday, the House Republican campaign committee announced it had prepared TV ads to run against dozens of wavering House Democrats. The committee said any Democrat who ends up voting yes can expect to be hit quick and hard by a TV ad blitz in their congressional district.
A group of businesses headed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is also airing TV ads against the legislation, spending between $4 million and $10 million, according to a spokeswoman. While Moveon.org, a liberal advocacy group that helped Barack Obama win the presidency in 2008, is running ads in support of the measure, spending “in six figures,” an official of the group said.
The House is expected this weekend to decide the fate of healthcare legislation earlier approved by the Senate.
Polls show most Americans oppose the legislation, denounced by Republicans as a federal government takeover of healthcare that would increase premiums and reduce consumer choice.
Democrats reject Republican criticism and have been heartened by the fact that surveys find that most Americans support what the legislation seeks to accomplish, like reducing costs, implementing federal regulation of the insurance industry and providing coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.
If the bill ends up becoming law, Obama and other backers hope to build public support for it before Election Day.
Republicans say they don’t see any surge in support and that Democrats who vote for it will pay a political price.
Representative Jerrold Nadler said he and fellow Democrats have a choice.
“If we pass this bill, we will be judged by the results,” Nadler said. “If we don’t pass this bill, we will be judged by the accusations.”
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Photo credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas (Obama on TV making speech about healthcare reform), Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (healthcare legislation protesters at the Capitol)