June 25th, 2009
04:08 PM ET
14 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. Steve

    It is stunning that this woman is still given a platform in which to speak. I have little respect for anything about this woman. However, under no circumstances is it okay to drag an innocent child into her ridiculous sideshow. Moreover, it is dispicable to make fun of or make into a spectacle an innocent child.

    June 25, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Shari, NY

    Sandra: I hear you. That reminds me of New York Mayor Bloomberg's ads. He is very rich and has poured a lot of his own money into campaign advertising for a THIRD term much to the displeasure of some people. I wondered aloud why not use all that money to counteract the city's economic crisis in in some way. Someone immediately pointed out that printers, editors, graphic artists, clerical staff, post office personnel, etc, are all benefiting from the blitz he has created. I guess not all of us can see beyond our noses.

    June 25, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. RealityKing

    Who are these groups lobby for and against healthcare reform?? Please name them, so we can be sure not to send more money their way..

    June 25, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. demwit

    When spend 2-1 promoting something.., doesn't that indicate that its obviously not worth it??

    June 25, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. Melissa

    I honestly don't particularly care. I'm fine with the health care issues, its the extremist Republicans who are having a fit like the hypocrites always do.

    June 25, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Do

    Bush time is WAR Obama time is healthcare I know GOP love war they don't think about the poor soldier's life ? All wondead are turn into a homeless people RNC spend the whole 8 years with war war war ?????

    June 25, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. RealityKing

    I mean name all of them, not just the one in the main opposing group. Not that its shows CNN's political bias or anything like that..

    June 25, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. Steve (the real one)

    Maybe they can run these ads between those ads for Sham Wow! Oh wait!. This IS a Sham....Wow!

    June 25, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. Obama Victim

    Obozo and his supporters spending money..............well, that is what they do best

    June 25, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. TCM

    @seebofubar –


    people are fed up with medical costs...I agree. But, Obama's not the answer, that's like throwing fuel on a fire.....

    June 25, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. TCM

    @ Brian in AZ –

    "....At least to those of us whose lips aren't superglued to the gov't teet..."

    priceless analogy, Brian.

    June 25, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Hammerer

    Money bought the White House, why not government controlled healthcare. Taxes will pay everyone's medical care as long as someone will work and pay taxes.
    The trouble with that is why work when everything is free. We can all enjoy the good life and let those making $250,000 pay the taxes.

    June 25, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Dont blame me

    Interesting note:

    ABC will NOT allow opposision adds to run before, during, or after Obama's made for TV INFOMERCIAL.

    This is one LOPSIDED view that of the healthcare system that the STATE RUN MEDIA aka ABC is soing all it can for Obama.

    I'll tell you what.

    If Obama would 1st FIX the bankrupt GOVERNMENT RUN Medicare system and turn it into a model that can be followed, THEN I would have some faith in what he is trying to do.

    Other than that, Obama is the manufacturer of the defunct EDSEL car and telling me that he can build a better car.

    Yeah right.

    June 25, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Typical Republican

    Hey Fellow Republicans, I'm confused on something:

    I keep seeing my fellow republicans telling all the democrats that they need to stop blaming it on Bush. So, does that mean I am not allowed to blame 9/11 on Clinton? Because, uhmm, Obama has been in office for less then 8 months, and if Clinton were to be the one to blame for 9/11, doesn't that mean all of whats bad now is actually Bush's fault?

    I'm just confused. Not sure if we are conveniently saying "It's a democrats fault when it's convenient, but the time rule doesn't apply if it makes a republican responsible for 'bad stuff'".

    Please help.

    June 25, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. Last Conservative in MA

    Elect a man who got into college on a handout, he is going to give more handouts. Common sense. Unfortunately he believes the government creates wealth. While they do print money, they do not create wealth. Wealth is based on belief of value. The logic is unmistakable.

    Welcome to the RMV hospital. Take a number and someone will be by to bill you momentarily. Dont mind the boss' cousin sleeping in the corner office. There is a doctor here imported from Mexico as all American doctors went to work abroad.

    June 25, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. Corporatism is Garbage

    Glad to see where my $50/week is going...

    June 25, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. Moderate Democrat

    @seebofubar June 25th, 2009 4:37 pm ET
    The insurance companies exponential profit growth over the past eight years seems to disagree with your statement. Obviously they are not investing a whole bunch of their money if they seem to keep making more, and the rest of the country is making less.

    I would go redo that math of yours. It's far too partisan and way too delusional.

    Let me help you, It actually goes like this: "When insurance companies make a profit, they pay big salaries to the executives, and then charge consumers more to give them raises next year. They accomplish this by MURDERING their customers via denial of coverage and service. This is good for them, but it sucks for the rest of the country."

    June 25, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. John

    Limbaugh is going to have to yell pretty loudly to drown this out.

    On the upside, when healthcare reform goes through, his pain meds will cost less.

    June 25, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Some republican guy June 25th, 2009 4:29 pm ET
    This is socialism!!! ACORN and the narcissistic obamabots and the koolaid drinking libtards want to take away my health insurance....
    Dear God...I hope you are wrong about the 'socialism' statement. I would hate that there be any chance at all that my bracket-induced new tax hike will go towards providing health care to a Republican Guy or his family.

    I'm fine with the tax hike, but I don't want to think that I had anything to do with bettering the life of a 'Republican' or the health of their child.

    June 25, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. ton

    @ Frank, not more then Bush . You think???

    June 25, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. phoenix86

    Amazing, $8.2 million invested to promote a health care plan that will take away the current benefits enjoyed and favored by the majority of Americans so that Obama can insure 46 million people, the majority of which are either illegal aliens or can afford health insurance but chose not to.

    June 25, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. jeff

    Both sides should hand out the money to peple who need it like the poor homeless than waist it on TV adds.

    I also think that it should be mandatory for presidents to take government money to run for president and not be allowed to raise money on their own.
    This way neither side ows anyone any favours

    June 25, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. ADO

    Why is everyon so upset about the way we communicate our opinions? No matter what position you take – one of the many positives about the USA is our ability to publicly express ourselves.
    Don't you think it's time we stopped the mud slinging, hold respectful debate and work on common ground issues? The blame game ony hurts us.

    June 25, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    @ Frank who said "what an embarrasment of a president"

    Embarassment??? I watched my hometown get attacked on 9/11/2001 and when I looked at Bush for his leadership, he was glued to the chair......for like 10 minutes.

    June 25, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. phoenix86

    Just a question:

    Obama spent $800 billion on a stimulus package that didn't work.
    Sent $900 million to Hamas and Fatah
    Sent $750 million to the IMF to bail out European banks.
    Is proposing a $1.6 trillion cap & trade energy tax.
    Is proposig a $1.5 trillion single payer health care package.
    Has increased the deficit by over $1.2 trillion just this year.

    Is this the change you all were hoping for?

    June 25, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
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