Monday, July 20, 2009

Insurance Industry Set to Launch a Seven-Figure Ad Campaign Regarding Health Care Reform

As the debate over health care reform continues to heat up, there is a good chance that you may see this ad (or one that is similar) on your television screen:

and why are the chances quite high that you will be seeing an ad from AHIP? It is because they are spending over a million dollars on a new ad campaign. From Politico:

For the first time since Harry and Louise helped sink health care reform in 1994, the insurance industry is back on the airwaves Monday with a seven-figure, national cable television ad campaign.


The insurers' television ad, which could also run in targeted markets, will be supported by a complementary print campaign that is also set to launch this week. The industry intends to tap into its national network of 500,000 employees to help spread the message.

As the article goes on to say, there was a conscious decision on the part of the Insurance industry to not go negative in these ads, but instead to position themselves as proponents of health care reform. There is no doubt that this was done because a majority of Americans favor some type of health care reform, but it is important to keep in mind that the Insurance Industry is vehemently opposed to the inclusion of a single-payer option in the reform debate. Even though they are opposed to a single-payer option, most Americans are not.

It is apparent that what this massive ad campaign is about, is image. In the view of AHIP, running ads that tout an "American Option" and actually appearing as if they are in favor of health care reform will probably influence the public more than attacking those who are in favor of a single-payer or public option. I agree with Christy Harden Smith at Firedoglake when she says that the Insurance Industry is typically perceived as a heartless profit-driven industry and is thus trying to change their image of being "...greedy, grasping, concerned with profits and the bottom line at the expense of the people they insure."

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