June 25th, 2009
04:08 PM ET
5 years ago

First on the Ticker: $22 mln spent on health care TV ads

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Supporters of President Obama's approach to health care reform are pouring millions of dollars into television commercials this year to help promote it, outspending opponents on the air by a margin of greater than 2-to-1.

Pro-Obama interest groups have spent $8.2 million on TV, while groups that oppose his proposal have countered with $3.2 million in commercials to help shape the extremely contentious debate over how best to reform the nation's health care system.

In all, more than $22 million has been spent on television commercials on the health care issue so far this year, according to an analysis conducted by Campaign Media Analysis Group, CNN's consultant on political television advertising.

"Television advertising played a defining role in the defeat of President Clinton's plan for national healthcare," said Evan Tracey, CMAG's president. "Fast forward to 2009, and we have seen more money spent in just a few months than was spent in the entire debate in the 1990s."

The biggest spender on TV ads has been the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association, which has invested $10 million on commercials that promote the general idea of health care reform. But PhRMA is also part of two separate pro-Obama coalitions - "Healthy Economy Now," and "America's Agenda: Health Care for Kids" - which have spent over $3 million and $4.2 million, respectively, advocating for the president's plan.

"Healthy Economy Now" is comprised of organizations ranging from Families USA to Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. "America's Agenda: Health Care for Kids" is made up of several unions, IBM and PhRMA.

The main group opposing the Obama health care proposal is "Conservatives for Patients' Rights," which has spent $3 million on TV ads. The organization is headed by Richard Scott, a founder of Columbia Hospital Corporation and Solantic. Scott describes Solantic on CRP's Web site as a company that "builds and operates innovative, cost and service conscious urgent care facilities throughout Florida."

"What the early advertising shows us is that both sides have a lot at stake, and will spend whatever it takes in the battle to influence the American public to pressure lawmakers," Tracey said.

House and Senate lawmakers are currently debating how best to address health care reform this year. Obama has called on Congress to deliver him a bill by October.


Filed under: Health care • President Obama
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Raymond Burgoon-Clark

    Those who claim that Canada's and the UK's health insurance plans don't work should pay attention to what Canadians and Britons have to say about them, not far-reich(sic)-wing nuts in the US.

    Um, in case you haven't noticed, MediCare *IS* socialized medicine, and it works just fine.

    Congress: it's obvious what the PEOPLE want: take the fat-cat insurance companies out of the loop and give us single-payer heath insurance for ALL ... INCLUDING the members of Congress.

    June 25, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  2. Mike J

    Some people complain about how universal health care is socialism, when we already have socialized police protection and fire protection. We socialize those things, because they are a need by society. Such things should not be done for profit.

    When we see those ads that show a few people in another country who don't get the care they need, we should understand that we have 47 million Americans who don't have health insurance. No one should go bankrupt due to bad health.

    Let's look deeper than an ad, and consider what other countries have gotten right when it comes to health care.

    June 25, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  3. Bob in Pa

    All these liberal groups, PACs and foundations and the DNC that claim to have a cause they are fighting for.
    I say its time they put their money where their mouth is. They spend more money on Ads, Campaigns, and Salaries. Stop demanding that someone else pay for what it is you seek. You could truly change the world if you weren't such control freaks and power hungry.

    June 25, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. Ed

    Follow the MONEY Trail!

    June 25, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. Educate yourselves before you open your mouth and just let the words fall out

    @ Robin: Robin June 25th, 2009 4:16 pm ET
    Waste of my hard earned tax dollars

    Try actually reading the article. The money didn't come from "tax dollars".

    June 25, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Some republican guy

    If you want healthcare in this country you should pay for it yourself. If you can't afford it get a job you lazy welfare queens! This country has gone to heck in a handbasket ever since that Saddam Hosain guy blew up the world trade center. Now we're all going to be communists. They want to teach my grandbabies that we came from monkeys! Monkeys!!! Gay people will be able to get married and vote and everything. ACORN will give all our jobs to illegal aliens. They're going to spend my grandbabies future on wasteful porkulusses like healthcare and education and interstructure!!! They're going to take away my assault rifles! Wise up people, soon us God fearing folks will be the minority, then they'll start rounding us up and putting us in the reeducation camps. Have a nice day!!!

    June 25, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Don of Iowa

    With all of the money and lobbyists the pharmaceutical companies have at hand is it any wonder that someone trying to speak for the people and trying to get an unbiased view of the subject other than the one by the drug comapnies has to spend millions to speak over the loud and overbearing claims of doom of the drug companies and get the real truth out there so Americans know which side of the issue to back. Personally I feel there should be a limit on how much large corportatons should be allowed so spend to sway Congress, after all it is supposed to be the governement for the people by the people, not for the corporations by the corporations. For anyone arguing they are still citizens then let them speak for them selves and put up their own monies, not the bulging coffers of the drug corporations versus Citizen Jane.

    June 25, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. Allen in Hartwell GA

    For everyone who wouldn't trade their paid health care in for government provided health care there are about 24 who would jump at the chance. Only the well-off, or the very well insured enjoy the "greatest health care in the world" that so many keep spouting about. Funny enough, many of the well-off aren't American citizens, but are rich foreigners who can afford the best. Unfortunately 95-percent of Americans can't afford it and have to settle for less than the best. For those who can't afford the whole pie, a sliver of pie is better than none.

    June 25, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Educate yourselves before you open your mouth and just let the words fall out

    @ Frank: Frank June 25th, 2009 4:23 pm ET
    What an embarrassment of a president. I guess that's what we get for hiring somebody who has never had a real job.

    What does your comment have to do with this article????? What an "embarrassment" of an American citizen!

    June 25, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Bob in Pa

    Your absolutley right Dutch !
    He should have accounted for the whereabouts of all flights in US airspace.
    He should have seen the second plane heading for the TTs on his radar screen and intercepeted it.
    Maybe he should have jumped up out of that chair flew to NYC and manned a firehose.

    As if anyone new this was a terrorist attack until after it happened. As my hero Bugs Bunny would say, "They're way to smat for us McGruder, lets get out of here!"

    June 25, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. Randolph Carter

    Are all the ads for prescription drugs on TV really necessary? Why not let your doctor recommend something? Banning them would surely bring down the cost of drugs a smidge. Have a nice day!

    June 25, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. ib

    When are you stupid liberals and others that want everything handed to you on a silver platter going to wake up and realize this country is broke and we can't afford any more give away programs. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!!!

    June 25, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. Tired of "socialist" rants

    Funny, GOP had NO problem when Bush pushed thru medicare D which bankrupts the government COMPLETELY within the next 8 years..its projected to take 110% of the total revenue just for drug costs because REPUBLICANS won't negotiate with drug companies. Their fixes to health care are a complete FAILURE. You scream socialism, because there will be negotiation for expenditures for health care...Since they have essentially been monopolies up to now deciding who keeps coverage, who doesn't, and what they want to charge....doesn't that qualify as socialism??

    Republicans only have a problem with socialism, when it affects THEIR pocketbooks and they can't continue to pillage the poor in this country. Its time to ignore them, they contribute nothing. If we follow their plans, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

    Dem's we put you in power. Quit bickering and fix it.

    June 25, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. Educate yourselves before you open your mouth and just let the words fall out

    I think we should take health care away from Congress until they pass heath care reform!

    June 25, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. Steve (the real one)

    Raymond Burgoon-Clark June 25th, 2009 5:04 pm ET
    Um, in case you haven't noticed, MediCare *IS* socialized medicine, and it works just fine.
    -------------------------
    Working just fine? Why then is Medicare/Medicaid going broke just like Social Security? Please explain!

    June 25, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. Randolph Carter

    How much does your employer put towards your benefits? Imagine if they could keep that money. They'd probably hire more people and buy more office supplies (hopefully made in USA). Wouldn't that be nice? Have a nice day!

    June 25, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. Juan

    You know what's crazy about Republicans. They talk about Obama spending too much Tax payer money but yet PALIN , and that Governor from S.C who was unfaithful to his wife, are paying back the states for using up our money to travel for personal trips! I don't like republicans, they are sneeky and hypocrits!

    June 25, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. Kristin

    First on the Ticker: $22 mln spent on health care TV ads

    22 minutes? or $22 millions? How can writers/editors let typo's like this in headlines get by? I see so many typo's in CNN articles and Headlines that I don't think anyone proofreads what they post. Either that or they are deliberate because they know they confuse readers so they will go to the article to see what it is really about....

    June 25, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  19. James M. Holmes

    "When are you stupid liberals and others that want everything handed to you on a silver platter going to wake up and realize this country is broke and we can't afford any more give away programs. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!!!" – ib

    Sorry retard... No one is asking for a hand out, just a REAL choice they can pay into!

    This plan woudl save money in the long run... but I'm sure that isn't what Rush Limbaugh is telling you!

    Anyone in Congres that votes against this shoudl give up THEIR FREE "single payer" healthcare...

    June 25, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. Wolves 4 Palin Charlotte, NC

    Let's take ALL ads off t.v. and let them fold like other businesses. We will see then how concerned CNN really is!

    June 25, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  21. Brendan

    @ Bob in PA:

    All these liberal groups, PACs and foundations and the DNC that claim to have a cause they are fighting for.
    I say its time they put their money where their mouth is. They spend more money on Ads, Campaigns, and Salaries. Stop demanding that someone else pay for what it is you seek. You could truly change the world if you weren't such control freaks and power hungry.
    ----------------------------------
    I seem to recall several ads this year from groups like Let Freedom Ring and the above mentioned Conservatives for Patient's Rights. Why aren't you calling them out if they're engaged in the exact same practice? I'm not endorsing any of the left's propaganda machines, I'm just wondering why only one side is deserving of criticism from you and not the other.

    June 25, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. Scott, Tucson

    So, we're going to pay out more in taxes for heath care we already have so that Obama and the liberals can give free health care to the illegals. And you call that CHANGE?

    June 25, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. phoenix86

    Obama is Jimmy Carter's foreign policy + LBJ's domestic policy. Weakness and ruin will be Obama's legacy. Can't wait until Obama's unemployed.

    June 25, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  24. gl, Pittsburgh

    Because of the misinformation put out by those who want to destroy the health care reform, am glad to see ads giving people the truth
    about what the health care plan is and does.
    The party of no will, as usual, support big business over the welfare of the American people and resort to any means possible.
    We have overwhelmingly proved that we support public option, requiring competition in health care costs and it is dismaying that
    there are politicians who refuse to acknowledge or listen to

    June 25, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. Fla.

    Good to hear. Most Americans (72%) want a public option included in healthcare reforms. It will increase competition, whereby helping reduce costs, extend affordable coverage, and improve overall care by reducing the need for emergency rooms, which has become the care of last resort for Americans without coverage.

    We are already paying for the extended coverage in a misguided way, considering expensive medical bills are the biggest cause for bankruptcies in the US. These huge costs (with fees) are falling back on the taxpayer. The current system is inefficient and broken.

    Life & death decisions are being made based on profits, instead of the best care for patients. It is past time for healthcare reforms. Get it done, Congress...

    June 25, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
1 2 3