AARP, AMA launch joint ad campaign touting health bill

Two days after health reform cleared its first major hurdle in the Senate, two groups launched a joint television ad campaign.

The AARP and American Medical Association (AMA) are undertaking the effort to promote the legislation’s effect on Medicare.

"AARP is fighting to protect and improve the sacred promise of Medicare made to the millions of older Americans who depend upon it,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. "Now special interests are using myths and misinformation to distort the truth and wrongly suggesting that Medicare will be harmed. After a lifetime of hard work, don't seniors deserve better?” 

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The new ad features a physician and a "spin doctor” sharing their perspective on health reform, with the physician correcting “misinformation” about health reform.

The two groups previously teamed up to back the House Democratic healthcare bill in early November. The AARP gave the proposal its full endorsement and the AMA offered its support for the principles of the bill but hesitated to offer an endorsement. Still, the AMA urged its members to take action to support the bill’s passage.

The ad takes aim at the arguments of Senate Republicans and health insurance interest groups who claim that Democratic healthcare reform cuts millions of dollars from the Medicare healthcare program for senior citizens. Democrats say that the spending cuts are designed to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.

"Together, AMA and AARP are working to put the scare tactics to bed once and for all and inform patients about the benefits of health reform,” said AMA President Dr. J. James Rohack in a release.

Rohack made another plug for the so-called “doc-fix” bill, which is backed by both groups. The $250 billion, 10-year proposal would freeze cuts to doctors’ Medicare payments mandated under a 1997 law. The House passed the “doc fix” last week but the Senate failed to motion for cloture on a similar bill in October. Twelve centrist Democrats joined Republicans in voting against the bill.

"Preserving the patient-physician relationship, improving the private insurance market so that coverage can't be denied if you get sick or lose your job, and finally fixing the Medicare physician payment formula that puts seniors' access to care at risk are some of the key goals we're working for this year,” Rohack said. 

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