Thursday, October 09, 2008

Health Care for America NOW Launches Ad Against Walberg

The fun part about living in a district with lots of national attention is that you get to learn all about political groups you'd never heard of before.

The Hill reports:

Healthcare for America Now, a union-backed liberal health reform advocacy group, is making a $4.3 million ad buy in support of Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates.

Over the next two weeks, the organization will run ads on TV and radio attacking Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and seven GOP congressional candidates for their views on healthcare.


Echoing talking points used by Obama and his campaign, the ads claim that McCain’s health reform plan would cause 20 million people to lose employer-sponsored health insurance because of changes he would make to how those benefits are taxed.


Similar ads will air in the states and districts of four incumbent Republican lawmakers: Sen. John Sununu (N.H.) and Reps. Ric Keller (Fla.), Randy Kuhl (N.Y.) and Tim Walberg (Mich.).


On top of the multimillion-dollar advertising buy, Healthcare for America Now will spend $500,000 on direct mail and telephone campaigning.
It will be interesting to see the kind of impact they might have on the campaign. Personally, I'd like to see all candidates talk about health care more, and, to his credit, it's something Mark Schauer rarely fails to mention.

With Health Care for America NOW, all I can hope is that the "telephone campaigning" doesn't include robocalls. Please, nobody likes those.

Here's the television ad they're running against Tim Walberg:

Ouch. Maybe I'm just a receptive audience, but I'd say that it's a pretty effective ad.

The bill they mention is HR 4460, the "Health Care Choice Act of 2007," of which Tim Walberg is a cosponsor. It was introduced but never made it out of committee, and for a good reason. The bill would allow health insurance companies to sell insurance across state lines, potentially opening you up to cheaper options, should you decide to purchase health insurance on your own.

However, by allowing health insurance companies to designate a "primary" state and making them exempt from the laws of all other "secondary" states in which they sell, that would mean insurers could choose as a "primary" state somewhere that, say, doesn't have a law requiring that they cover pre-existing conditions.

The ad says it would let the insurance companies "make the rules," and that's not quite true. It's more that it would let the insurance companies pick and choose which combination of rules they want to follow. (Thanks to Wikipedia and this blog for guiding me in the right direction.)

Anyway, that's the policy behind the ad. Now, back to the politics.

In addition to the television ad, Congressman Walberg is featured on a website they launched, Walberg's page, with a side-by-side comparison to Mark Schauer, leaves the reader with one clear conclusion-- Tim Walberg's not on your side. They also include a .pdf file with a good summary of Walberg's record on health care. It's certainly a must-read for anyone planning to talk with friends or relatives, and should be added to the talking points for Schauer volunteers going door-to-door.

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