U.S. Chamber Launches Ad Campaign on Health Care Reform
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching a five-state ad campaign opposing the inclusion of a so-called public insurance option in any health care reform package passed by Congress.
Bruce Josten, the chamber's executive vice president of government affairs, said chamber members support health care reform and need help controlling unpredictable health-care costs, but a public, government-run plan "would
have an unfair advantage overprivate plans, eventually crowding out private plans from the marketplace."
The question of whether to include a public insurance option has so far been one of the most divisive for Congress.
Josten and Bill Miller, the chamber's senior vice president of political affairs, who handles grass roots campaigns, said the chamber would spend a "couple of million" on the campaign. The chamber is planning print and Internet banner ads in Maine, North Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas and Colorado, and has launched a web site at www.responsiblehealthreform.com.
Josten said the ads are meant to support members of Congress from those states who have expressed concern about the public plan.
The chamber has also mobilized supporters to write letters, and Miller said supporters have sent 78,000 missives about health care reform to the Hill over the past few weeks. The chamber has so far reported spending $17.4 million so far this year on in-house lobbying efforts, and also has several private firms on retainer, including Van Scoyoc Associates; Peck, Madigan, Jones & Stewart; and Gephardt Group Government Affairs.