Health overhaul ads intensify emotional messages

"The healthcare overhaul fight in Washington is bursting into America's living rooms, and interests from many bands on the political spectrum are trying to transform an often wonky debate over 1,000-page bills into an emotional pitch that can be captured in 30 seconds," The Boston Globe reports.

"The airwaves blitz is intensifying as Congress prepares to return home for its month long summer recess without having cast crucial first-round votes on legislation. Political parties, unions, consumer groups, the healthcare industry, and disease activists see the next six weeks as pivotal in driving public opinion and influencing lawmakers' votes on healthcare legislation this fall." Nearly $15 million a week is being spent on advertising, The Globe reports.

"But the interests are also experimenting with creative ways to get their message across. There is a Web skit showing a bleeding man begging for a doctor as a bureaucrat stares at him blankly. A TV spot shows a snail - representing health reform - moving too slowly to escape the fast-moving shoe.

"'It's going to become a much less technical argument and a much more emotional argument,' said Brooks Jackson, director of, which monitors the factual accuracy of political players and advertising. 'I think that's certainly what a number of states have to look forward to in August.'"

"Another striking change is that advertisers supporting the healthcare legislation have outspent groups opposing the overhaul by a factor of 2-to-1, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group. Liberal groups, which gained enormous organizing and fund-raising power in the last election cycle, are far wealthier, more organized, and more convinced that they have an important role to play in passing the plan" (Wangsness, 7/30).

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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