May 8th, 2009
02:04 PM ET
14 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. Jerry

    The Obama Health Care Plan: Take a Number.

    May 8, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Jerry

    I am...Canadian

    And a very proud one...I have been to the doctor 5 times in the passed year. Anywhere from x-rays, needles, drugs and etc. How much did I pay? Nothing....Please tell people to take a good look at the movie from Michael Moore : Sicko.... It explains all.

    May 8, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. Ozymandias

    Our health care system is the most expensive and the most inefficient of all industrialized nations. If conservatives want choice then why are they against a public/private hybrid where those that can afford the expensive and bloated private health care get it, while those that cant opt for the government run system. They dont want to allow that because they know it would destroy the for-profit system and we cant have some of Republicans largest donors going out of business now can we?

    May 8, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. carlc

    so they pick the most extreme, shocking cases and try to spin it as "mainsteam"? How RepugliKKKan...

    you could pick even more shocking cases from the "lauded" capitalist healthcare system in the US....

    May 8, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. Jeff

    you can get the scoop on this ad at

    May 8, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. Sam Sixpack

    Health care will never work as long as insurance companies are in the middle.

    What do insurance companies bring to the table? Nothing.

    What do they take away? Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of money.

    Do you believe the new leaders you worship are going to fix this or are you still too busy gleefully giving away what's left of your future just to spite GWB? Are you stupid enough to think GWB even cares?

    May 8, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. Anne, Albuquerque NM

    The federal govt. is ramping up its move to federally mandated healthcare. My doctor has just informed me that he can no longer provide (under threat of prison) (1) free services (2) discounted services (e.g., for cash payment) and (3) credit (e.g., pay half your bill each month). Furthermore, he has to accept whatever the federal govt. determines his services and fees for those services should be. I don't know why anyone would become a doctor under those conditions. Talk about federal intrusion into your business! This may well really break our healthcare system when there are no doctors.

    May 8, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |

    Let's put together an ad telling the stories of the thousands who've died here under a private-sector healthcare system where insurance companies let people die rather than weaken their profits paying for needed healthcare.

    May 8, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. R Cross

    The claims by the conservative insurance thieves could find the same stories they use against a government plan and more of them with the greedy system we currently have. People dumped on skid row. People turned away or left waiting for lack of money. Unaffordable premiums, co-pays, and simply denied claims(even after the fact) are the insurance legacy to healthcare in America today. This long line story. Oh boy. A long line would be preferable to the NO Line that some find themselves in. SOME care compared to NO care. This is a national emegency. One way or another everyone pays in this system and the insurance companies collect fantastic sums that could be put to use treating more people. BTW people here are going to foreign countries to get treatment that isnt affordable here.

    May 8, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. R Cross

    I'm forever waiting to be moderated. What is it hat I say that causes such censorship??

    May 8, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  11. M. Felder

    By offering Public and Private Healthcare programs, the US will be giving the American People a choice. Isn't that what happened when the government broke up the Telephone monopoly, it offered the telecommunication industry the opportunity to broaden out into cable, cell phone and other industries and NO one entity was too big. If these private healthcare industries have no competition then they can charge us whatever they choose. Let's not pretend that this current healthcare system does not have its abuses. I think we all can admit that there have been tests that this industry have denied our family members. LET US HAVE A CHOICE.

    May 8, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. Frank

    Power of words – the left (CNN included) is calling nationalization "reform" and we are all expected to use their bogus term. We're either "for reform" or "against reform" – and who could be AGAINST "reform"?

    It's nationalization. It's socialism.

    May 8, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. Melissa

    The thing is that these are the exception not the rule. Republicans would rather people continue to be robbed blind and die at their hands.


    May 8, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. becky canterbury

    You can always find fault in any health care system, but my experience has been that needed services are provided quickly and competently here in Canada. Yes, there are waits for elective surgeries at times but acute care is given priority and the universality outweighs any inconveniences.

    May 8, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. JANE C., Springboro, OH

    What a FUN name for Big Business: Conservatives for Patient Rights! Is that a joke, or what? When ever was Big Business (esp. of medical industry) interested in Patient's Rights? You've got to give their marketing department an "A" for creativity and irony–that's for sure.

    With well over 47 million Americans with no health care, and another 47 million Americans underinsured, We The People, have our hands full of battles over this issue. Both the Big Medical Industry AND the Senate Finance Cmte– whose campaigns have been heavily FINANCED by the Big Medical Industry–are doing everything possible to oppress the voices of the people. Even the Chair of the Finance Cmte, Sen Baucus would not allow the Single-Payer group to sit at the table for the discussion. Baucus even had the doctors arrested for speaking at the meeting this past week. Shame on Baucus for silencing the will of the people. For shame, Baucus.

    May 8, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. Ren from Baltimore

    Thank you, Rick Scott, for having your background information so available. It allows us to check on and immediately discount your group's efforts at derailing the much-needed government health care program.

    Thanks again, Rick! Hope you got that $1,700,000,000 fine paid off for cheating patients and the health care system!! See ya!

    May 8, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  17. Diane Smith-Merrill

    As a Canadian, this is utter nonsense to me. Of course there are some problems with health care in every nation, the difference is that I will not lose my home, me savings etc if I fall ill and I am more than happy with my health care. I have been treated for several health issues and have never felt that I was at risk or that our system was broken. I am so tired of all these right wing attacks on universal health care.

    May 8, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  18. Allen in Hartwell GA

    I wish the idea behind medical care was to treat the sick, and not to make a profit. Why do people from the rest of the world come to America to get treatments? It is because we have the best health care that money can buy. Unfortunately, if you don't have money you can't buy it. That's what this is all about. I hope people learn to separate freedom of choice from not having a choice.

    May 8, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  19. jphilly

    the problem with the "patients choice" argument is that its not really the patients choice the way things are right now. The insurance companies control your treatment. NOT you and your doctor. Look at it this way, would you rather have a government controling your treatment, or and insurance company? At least with a govenment you have a vote as to who is running the show. insurance companies are private companies where you have no control at all. besides, the insurance compay controlling your treatment IS another form of government. They are "governing" your treatment options. the only difference is that you have no say in who runs the show.

    May 8, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  20. Sergeant Avery

    I rather have a socialized health care program than what we presently have. As a Soldier, I proud to say that I rely on the Federal government to take care of the medical needs of my family and I. They are doing an outstanding job at that. As great a nation as the United States, you would think that we will take care of our ederly and poor where they don't have to go bankrupt just to pay for health care.
    There are ills in every health care system; we need the best system that will place the patient needs above corporate greed.

    May 8, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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