By Alexander Bolton - 06/19/09 11:54 AM EDT
A coalition of liberal groups has launched a $1.1 million television ad campaign to ratchet up pressure on senators who have not embraced the creation of a broad government-run health insurance plan.
The ad campaign comes as President Obama and congressional Democrats are struggling to regain the momentum they had earlier this year on revamping the nation’s healthcare system.
The ads begin airing on Friday and will run for 10 straight days.
The Finance Committee was expected to release draft legislation this week but that timetable has been postponed because of significant cost hurdles that have emerged in recent days. The panel had planned a markup of the package next week but that goal may also slip.
The ad is running in the home states of eight members of the Finance panel: Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Tom CarperTom CarperOvernight Healthcare: McConnell unveils new Zika package | Manchin defends daughter on EpiPens | Bill includes M for opioid crisis Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare Overnight Finance: Trump promises millions of jobs | Obama taps Kasich to sell trade deal | Fed makes monetary policy video game | Trump vs. Ford MORE (D-Del.), Bill NelsonBill NelsonOvernight Finance: Senate rejects funding bill as shutdown looms | Labor Dept. to probe Wells Fargo | Fed to ease stress test rules for small banks Overnight Energy: Judges scrutinize Obama climate rule Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears MORE (D-Fla.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Ron WydenRon WydenOvernight Cybersecurity: FBI probes possible hack of Dems' phones | Trump's '400-pound hacker' | Pressure builds on Yahoo | Poll trolls run wild Dems slam Yahoo CEO over delay in acknowledging hack Overnight Finance: McConnell offers 'clean' funding bill | Dems pan proposal | Flint aid, internet measure not included | More heat for Wells Fargo | New concerns on investor visas MORE (D-Ore.), Maria CantwellMaria CantwellUS wins aerospace subsidies trade case over the EU Wells CEO Stumpf resigns from Fed advisory panel Overnight Energy: Lawmakers kick off energy bill talks MORE (D-Wash.), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyThe Trail 2016: Fight night Clinton, Trump tied in Iowa, Grassley leads in Senate race Senate rivals gear up for debates MORE (R-Iowa) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).
Of those senators, Lincoln, Wyden and Grassley are up for reelection in 2010.
The liberal coalition is also targeting Sen. Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuLouisiana needs Caroline Fayard as its new senator La. Senate contender books seven-figure ad buy Crowded field muddies polling in Louisiana Senate race MORE (D-La.), who has voiced opposition to the so-called public health insurance option, and Sen. Kay HaganKay HaganPhoto finish predicted for Trump, Clinton in North Carolina Are Senate Republicans facing an election wipeout? Clinton's lead in NC elevates Senate race MORE (D-N.C.). Hagan has voiced support for an alternative to the public option: health insurance co-ops, a plan pushed by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).
The ad begins with images of $50 bills running through a sorting machine and a man in a business suit boarding a corporate plane.
“What if we stripped away the 13-billion-dollar insurance company profits? The 119-million-dollar CEO bonuses?” a narrator asks. “The endless denials? The soaring co-pays and premiums?”
Under such a scenario, the narrator pledges to viewers: “You’d have healthcare between you and your doctor — that’s the president’s plan.”
The line is somewhat of a spinoff on what has emerged as a central GOP talking point in recent days, that government-run insurance plans would put bureaucrats between doctors and patients.
Viewers are told in the latest ad that under Obama’s plan they could keep their existing coverage, “or choose from a range of plans, including a public health insurance option to lower costs and keep insurance companies honest.”
Health Care for America Now is a coalition including ACORN, the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of State, County, Municipal Employees, Americans United for Change, MoveOn.org, the NAACP, the National Education Association, and the Service Employees International Union. Each of those groups has contributed at least $500,000 to sit on the coalition’s steering committee.
Health Care for America Now has also received $18 million of its $35 million budget from Atlantic Philanthropies, founded by Chuck Feeney, a billionaire businessman.
This article was updated at 1:21 p.m.