Airwaves to heat up in health care debate

And of course I use the term “debate” lightly. Would that our legislative bodies were more genuinely deliberative.

Politico reports that supporters of President Obama‘s health care plans are launching a $12 million dollar TV advertising campaign starting today. What may alarm both the left and the right is that the coalition sponsoring the buys include major groups representing doctors (AMA), hospitals (FMH) and drug-makers (PhRMA).

(Unfortunately for my junior home senator, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), the ads are not slated to air in the Show-Me state. Perhaps the president’s aides, DNC strategists and industry lobbyists – or whoever is doing the targeting – consider her a reliable vote on this issue, regardless of her public posturing as the advocate who yet maintains a sense of thoughtfulness, moderation and independence.)

Traditionally, these groups (certainly the doctors and pharmaceutical companies) have opposed efforts to further centralize the nati0n’s health care industry in the hands of the government. Their involvement in pushing such efforts now is a major loss to nationalization opponents.

However, these industry groups didn’t sign up for free – they’re getting something, and that concerns the left. The full and exact measure of what they’re getting I do not yet know, but their conversion is suspicious to proponents and disconcerting to the opposition.

It seems the only major industry group opposing the president would be insurance. They come with heft, but for practical and PR reasons you’d rather not fight this battle with them alone on your side.

We’ll see if the ad campaign can really move public opinion – opinion that has shifted against the president’s “reform” agenda on this issue. Will it be too late for nationalization-proponents to catch independents, who according to recent polls are moving into the opposition camp? And will undecided lawmakers feel they have enough cover from the ads to move into the Yes column, despite ongoing heat from constituents against it?

Only time will tell. I heard somewhere that the Democrats’ new goal is to get this to a vote around Thanksgiving (is that coincidental – or does leadership count on members hearing less from constituents during the holiday season?). That’s plenty of time to read the bill(s) and make the case to the American people why socialized medicine is not the right solution in the quest to improve quality and availability of health care.

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