So, What’s News With You?

While Rick Scott and Ron Pollack reportedly plan to duke it out on Fox and Friends this morning (bizarre Families USA strategy if you ask me, but whatever), HCAN’s all over a great NYT piece about health care reform and advertising:

Supporters of a sweeping health care overhaul, like Health Care for America Now, a consumer group, say Congress must ensure coverage for everyone and create a new public insurance plan that would compete directly with private insurers.


By contrast, just south of the Canadian border, residents of Maine saw a television advertisement this week in favor of a health care overhaul, including the choice of a public insurance plan.

In this commercial, run by Health Care for America Now, Dr. Bethany Picker of Lewiston, Me., says, “Doctors and patients together should be making health care decisions, not the insurance companies.”

In the same advertisement, Dr. Karen Hover, a family physician in Bangor, Me., says, “It’s important that people have a choice between keeping the plan that they are happy with and choosing a public insurance plan.”

In the spot’s final seconds, a message appears on the screen urging viewers to register their support for a public health insurance option with Maine’s senators, Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins, both Republicans.

Jacki Schechner, a spokeswoman for Health Care for America Now, said the group had received more than $15 million, most of its money, from a foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies, with the rest coming from labor unions, civil rights groups and other organizations represented on its steering committee.

The group has also run TV spots this month in six other states: Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Nebraska, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

In these advertisements, Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, an anesthesiologist in Philadelphia, says Congress must create “a new public health insurance plan, with good benefits, at a price you can afford, so we’re no longer at the mercy of insurance companies.”

Ms. Schechner said her group had spent $200,000 on television advertisements in the last month.

“We are planning plenty more,” she said. “This is just the beginning.”

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