American Medical Association Stumps for Universal Health Care
The American Medical Association on Thursday launched "Voice for the Uninsured," a three-year, multimillion-dollar advertising campaign intended to influence the health care debate in the 2008 election and promote its plan for providing health coverage for the uninsured, the Los Angeles Times reports (Lauer, Los Angeles Times, 8/24).
AMA's proposal includes the use of tax credits to help individuals purchase health insurance, and the group supports increasing federal funds to expand government health programs, such as SCHIP (Tanner, AP/Houston Chronicle, 8/23).
The campaign will promote AMA's health care plan in three stages. In the first stage, AMA this year will spend $5 million to advertise in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which all have early primaries, and in Washington, D.C. The ads will appear in radio, television and print, as well as on billboards, prescription bags at pharmacies and placards on mass transit, according to the Times.
"These early states are going to be the first people to cast their vote for who goes to office next year," Nancy Nielsen, AMA president-elect, said.
In the second stage, which will occur in 2008, the ad campaign will extend nationwide. During the final stage, AMA will lobby Congress to pass health care reform legislation by the end of 2009.
Nielsen said, "We want to make sure when voters go into the voting booths ... they will keep the issue of the uninsured in their minds."
The association does not endorse candidates or provide contributions; instead, it encourages candidates from both political parties to incorporate AMA's ideas into their health care platforms rather than support a single-payer system (Los Angeles Times, 8/24).
American Public Media's "Marketplace Morning Report" on Thursday reported on the campaign. The segment includes comments from Nielsen (Milne-Tyte, "Marketplace Morning Report," American Public Media, 8/23).
Audio and a transcript of the segment are available online.