May 8th, 2009
02:04 PM ET
9 years ago

Battling health care on the airwaves

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As the first legislative action on reforming the nation's health care system draws near, interest groups on various sides of the issue are stepping up their media and lobbying efforts with all sides knowing how much is at stake.

A group favoring a market-based approach and emphasizing patient choice, Conservatives for Patient Rights, came out Friday with two new ads featuring British and Canadian citizens who have suffered problems, such as a British woman who could not get a pap smear and her later diagnosis with cervical cancer came too late for treatment and a Canadian man who had to travel to the U.S. to get his heart condition treated. "Listen to those who already have government run health care," states the ad. "Tell Congress to listen to."

These ads are part of a $1 million campaign - part of the effort by the group to warn of the dangers if the U.S. imposes a government-run health care system.

That group is bankrolled by Rick Scott, who runs a chain of urgent care clinics in Florida and a former CEO of the hospital chain Columbia/HCA. Now those who want to see an extensive health care overhaul are targetting Scott focusing on his former corporation's financial problems and fraud allegations. It agreed to pay $1.7 billion in fines and penalties, but Scott was never criminally charged.

Health Care for America Now, a coalition including unions and activist organizations, has launched a $100,000 ad campaign highlighting the problems with Scott's previous corporation problems and says "Now Rick Scott is trying to block health care reform because he and his insurance company friends make millions from the broken system we have now."

In reaction, Scott said "Despite these vicious and patently untrue attacks, we will continue to educate Americans on the pitfalls of government-run health systems and promote reform based on choice, competition, accountability and personal responsibility."
Scott has said some opponents are trying to discredit him instead of focusing on the issues.

These efforts come as the Senate Finance Committee, the first congressional panel that will try to vote on health care reform, continues to hold public and private discussions to try to hammer out the outlines of a bill. The committee is expected to try to take up the issue next month.

While Democrats and Republicans both predict Congress will approve major reform this year, they warn one of the major issues that could derail it is the question of whether to offer some type of government offered health care insurance. It is an idea President Obama supported during the campaign, but the White House has refused to demand it be part of a final bill. Proponents say you need such an initiative to help lower costs. Opponents counter it could force some private insurers out of business and vow to block any bill including it.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Kelby In Houston, TX

    I don't know about the rest of you people, but I am tired of hearing stories where someone gets sick, goes bankrupt and dies poor. This is the greatest country on earth, but here, if you get sick, you can lose everything and that is not right.
    If We want healthcare WE have to bring the message to the politicians. Our voice must loud and constant in the cacophony that exists in our politcal arena. The campaign is over but our work must continue.
    We can do this.
    We can help people.
    We can make things better.
    Yes WE can!

    May 8, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. Kevin in Ohio

    I am sure there will be vicious attacks made by the liberals on these British and Canadian citizens for revealing the truth behind socialized medicine.

    May 8, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  3. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    A liberal tactic, destroy the message by destroying the messenger, never let the truth or ethics get in the way. A play straight out of the Al Gore, George Soros, ACORN & union playbook.

    May 8, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. Cheryl

    Apparently the GOP has not heard the horror stories of healthcare in the US and HMO's refusal to provide appropriate care to their customers. We have stories right here that are much worse than you will ever find in Canada and Great Britian. I was unable to ever have children because the HMO I had would not allow a test that would have diagnosed an infection. How about those that cannot be insured and are doomed to die in the US with no healthcare at all. I am so sick of the GOP denials and their pandering to the rich and big business while selling the Amaerican people down the river. We voted for healthcare so give it to us!

    May 8, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. jeb b

    in the united states; you got half of the country that have health care. these are people who are republicans and for years secured that right w/ their greed and philfering and down right looting of the system. they feel , why should the poor have health care its the plantation mentality of a republican. persons other than themselves don't deserve proper health care . this why their so resistant to providing for the poor . or proper health care for the returning WAR veterans. FACT IS republicans and the health care providers, like things the way they are. cause they are some of the biggest PIMPS OF THE SYSTEM. and they want to label everybody who gives has less a socialist. thats why when in the twinkling of an eye, the natural diasaters hit their rich arse and they are brought down to reality is why i can't relate to the pain of the righteous racist.

    May 8, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Terry

    It is either the goal of our health care system to provide everyone with appropriate preventative care, medical treatment, and medication or it is not.

    If the goal of our health care system is to generate wealth for the owners of the corporations that currently provide medical care, then not all will receive care.

    Some people cannot afford appropriate medical care. They work hard at low paying jobs, they are too sick to work, or they are too young to work. If private medical enterprises cannot or will not provide affordable care for Americans who cannot afford to pay retail for it, then what shall we do? We can let them suffer and die, or we can invent an alternative medical delivery system for them.

    That seems clear enough to me.

    May 8, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. George

    Total Republican greed.

    May 8, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Lesley Anne

    The for-profit health insurance companies like the one run by Mr. Scott have been milking the system for decades, putting an undue strain on the economy. Premiums have gone up and service has gone down. Co-pays have risen as well. Unless Obama sticks to his guns and insists on a public alternative to go along with the private insurance, nothing will change. I will be sorely disappointed if he backs down. Private insurance is fighting tooth and nail to keep up their outrageous profit margins at the expense of public health. A dual system would offer something for everyone, and if the private companies can't compete, too bad. Let them adjust their bottom lines to a more reasonable level in order to stay in business. They're afraid of competition. Competition is good for the economy. I thought monopolies were illegal in this country!

    May 8, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. Leah, Vancouver, BC

    Rick Scott sounds like a really credible source for the side who wants to exclude health care for all except themselves.

    Canada has a population of 34 million who rate health care as the top national priority and voted Tommy Douglas, the man who spearheaded its adoption, as our greatest national hero. To highlight one malcontent is pathetic.

    As a sixty year old woman I have never had any problems with our health care program and nor have any of my relative and friends. I am extremely proud of my country who believes that a country is responsible for its citizens.

    There are MANY Americans who arrive at our door, take advantage of our system and leave without paying. Perhaps that should be a story.

    May 8, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Mississippi Mike

    Do your really want the same people who brought you the Imigration and Naturalization Service and FEMA to run your health care? Do you really want congress to make rules about what kinds of health care citizens may or may not get? Do you really believe that letting a bunch of bureaucrats running any organization is a good idea? Of course not.

    Free-market health care may not be perfect but it is much, much better than anything you can expect the government to come up with.

    May 8, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  11. SCOTT from C

    So who is more important. Private insurers or the general population.
    Getting rather tired of hearing "socialist" or "communist" coming from
    the right. It's blatant fear mongering that I would hope won't work. Living in Canada and under this "socialist" system has allowed us the opportunity to worry about other issues other than health care if we were to take ill.

    May 8, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Kate in SW Fla

    Well, where can I send money for the campaign against this guy. He, and people just like him, derailed reform time and time again.
    We do need a government option available, but it should start as a limited program for specific groups of people. Start with people who have previously been refused coverage by insurers, who have had their coverage dropped or changed once they actually started to need it, or who have been denied coverage for "pre-existing conditions" or who were only offered policies priced above the average cost of insurance in their state. Offer a Medicare-like plan for them and charge a premium that completely pays for the plan. Insurers should be glad to not have to cover all these folks, especially if everyone else is required to get covered.

    May 8, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. Moderate Democrat

    Republicans and the likes of Scott endorse policies that will MURDER people unable to afford their absolutely outrageous costs. These kind of corporations SHOULD be shut down if they are UNAFFORDABLE in comparison to competition.

    What they are saying is: "We charge outrageous amounts of money, we do understand that can be done for less, but we won't do it for less, we will screw you and our patients. Our primary focus is keeping competition out of our market so we can continue to cause people to DIE due to lack of health coverage...that's how we make our money".

    May 8, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. phoenix86

    Obama's budget contains $635 billion to remake the nation's health care system but focuses on more efficient record keeping (making it electronic).

    That is more that the entire nation and perhaps the world spent on Y2K upgrades.

    Inefficiency and waste is an integral part of the Obama budget.

    May 8, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. Michael

    The health of U.S. citizens should never be a market. Health is life. To put a price tag on health care is to place a dollar value on human life.
    Quality health care is a human right, and profit should never become involved.
    Shame on those who would use the suffering of their own people to enrich themselves.

    May 8, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. worriedmom

    I have family that lives in Belgium and believe me the wait on health care is ridiculous! They are always commenting on how quick Americans can get test done. So before all of you go off the deep end and say let Govt pay for our health plans, do your research on other countries. Don't get me wrong, every person should be entitled to health care, what needs to be done is the outrageous fees that are charged. get a handle on those problems.

    May 8, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. Joseph

    does the ad really say 'to listen to'? Or is that just bad grammar on CNNs part? you can probably skip posting this one, just fix it if it was your fault. Makes you guys look a little silly. 😉

    May 8, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  18. Independent-Gurnee, IL

    OK... gotta love it when the GOP argues against TAXPAYER paid healthcare... Oh Wait... don't our lovely representatives get TAXPAYER paid healthcare... gee. GOP = hypocrisy

    May 8, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  19. GOP Disaster

    The GOP doesn't care about the sick!

    May 8, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Nick

    Not a single problem they point out with single-payer is missing from our current system. Several of our problems, however, are missing from single-payer. The only example of that which really matters to me is that I can walk right in, sit right down, and there's a doctor to see me rather than my pocket book, insurance worries, or HMO.

    If single-payer was so bad, then everyone in the world wouldn't have it. It's pretty arrogant to figure that we somehow have the only good system in the entire world just because it's ours.

    May 8, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. yuri

    Let the ragin' of the ragtag Repubs and delusive Dems begin with a bang.

    May 8, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  22. rhoward

    Whatever the final version of the healthcare legislation turns out to be, you can bet the only real winners will be insurance and drug companies. And we all know how much they care about their customers.

    May 8, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  23. Reg

    Since the Politicians have the best Healthcare in America due to
    us the taxpayers and pensions maybe we should revoke their
    priviledges just to see how they manage. They wouldn't!

    Allow all businesses to no longer have to offer Healthcare so they can
    offer higher wages and Medicare for Everyone single payer!

    Hmmm this could mean manufacturing to be restored here in the
    United States! Prior to the traitor reagan we were no.1 in Manufacturing, Creditor to all Nations, Healthcare, and a Free Press
    etc..... Now Fudgettaboutit!

    May 8, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. baker

    Ask yourself, if single payer heathcare is so awful, why is it that it is the healthcare our Representative and Senators have? The problem with it is that it eliminates the for profit insurance companies who donate so well to Washington.

    May 8, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. Eileen

    I'm not listening to any of the tv / radio ads, they are all biased in one way or another. I do my own research, thank you.

    May 8, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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