Ad campaign on health reform targets Finance panel

A coalition of liberal groups has launched a $1.1 million television ad campaign to ratchet up pressure on senators who have not embraced the creation of a broad government-run health insurance plan.
    
The ad campaign comes as President Obama and congressional Democrats are struggling to regain the momentum they had earlier this year on revamping the nation’s healthcare system.

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Health Care for America Now on Friday unveiled its new campaign to pressure Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee, which is in the midst of reworking a broad healthcare reform package.

The ads begin airing on Friday and will run for 10 straight days.

The Finance Committee was expected to release draft legislation this week but that timetable has been postponed because of significant cost hurdles that have emerged in recent days. The panel had planned a markup of the package next week but that goal may also slip.

The ad is running in the home states of eight members of the Finance panel: Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperSenate confirms top air regulator at EPA Senate panel delays vote on Trump’s Homeland Security pick Overnight Energy: Senators grill Trump environmental pick | EPA air nominee heads to Senate floor | Feds subpoena ex-Trump adviser over biofuels push MORE (D-Del.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonOvernight Tech: Senate panel subpoenaed ex-Yahoo chief | Twitter gives all users 280 characters | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | EU wants tax answers from Apple Overnight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny Former Yahoo CEO subpoenaed to appear before Congress MORE (D-Fla.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenLobbying World Overnight Regulation: House to vote on repealing joint-employer rule | EPA won't say which areas don't meet Obama smog rule | Lawmakers urge regulators to reject Perry plan New tax plan will hinder care for older Americans MORE (D-Ore.), Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellDemocrats oppose effort to delay or repeal Interior methane rule Senators spar over proposal to drill in Alaska wildlife refuge Fake quorum calls are an excuse for the Senate's inaction MORE (D-Wash.), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenators push mandatory sexual harassment training for members, staff Senate panel to hold hearing on bump stocks, background checks Senate panel to hold hearing on bump stocks MORE (R-Iowa) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).

Of those senators, Lincoln, Wyden and Grassley are up for reelection in 2010.

The liberal coalition is also targeting Sen. Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuYou want to recall John McCain? Good luck, it will be impossible CNN producer on new O'Keefe video: Voters are 'stupid,' Trump is 'crazy' CNN's Van Jones: O'Keefe Russia 'nothingburger' video 'a hoax' MORE (D-La.), who has voiced opposition to the so-called public health insurance option, and Sen. Kay HaganKay HaganDemocrats can win North Carolina just like Jimmy Carter did in 1976 North Carolina will be a big battleground state in 2020 Linking repatriation to job creation MORE (D-N.C.). Hagan has voiced support for an alternative to the public option: health insurance co-ops, a plan pushed by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).

The ad begins with images of $50 bills running through a sorting machine and a man in a business suit boarding a corporate plane.

“What if we stripped away the 13-billion-dollar insurance company profits? The 119-million-dollar CEO bonuses?” a narrator asks. “The endless denials? The soaring co-pays and premiums?”

Under such a scenario, the narrator pledges to viewers: “You’d have healthcare between you and your doctor — that’s the president’s plan.”

The line is somewhat of a spinoff on what has emerged as a central GOP talking point in recent days, that government-run insurance plans would put bureaucrats between doctors and patients.

Viewers are told in the latest ad that under Obama’s plan they could keep their existing coverage, “or choose from a range of plans, including a public health insurance option to lower costs and keep insurance companies honest.”

Health Care for America Now is a coalition including ACORN, the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of State, County, Municipal Employees, Americans United for Change, MoveOn.org, the NAACP, the National Education Association, and the Service Employees International Union. Each of those groups has contributed at least $500,000 to sit on the coalition’s steering committee.

Health Care for America Now has also received $18 million of its $35 million budget from Atlantic Philanthropies, founded by Chuck Feeney, a billionaire businessman.

This article was updated at 1:21 p.m.