PATIENTS’ RIGHTS: Major Ad Launch Set to Thwart Bill
Concerned about the last-ditch push for a patients' bill of rights and fearing that GOP senators in stiff re-election battles will "jump ship" if the bill makes it back to the Senate floor, the Health Benefits Coalition will announce today the launch of a $1 million, two-week print and radio "advertising blitz," CongressDaily/A.M. reports. Led by the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Association of Manufacturers and various managed care companies, the coalition aims to stem bill support by "drum[ming] home the industry's viewpoint within the Beltway" and focusing on the campaigns of Republican Sens. Spencer Abraham (Mich.), John Ashcroft (Mo.), Slade Gorton (Wash.) and William Roth (Del.). The ads, which praise each senator's support for GOP reforms and depict a bleak picture of the patients' rights legislation, will run in the senators' states as well as in Washington, D.C. The Business Roundtable also is slated to begin a $1 million television advertising campaign with the "intent ... to stay visible in this debate until they turn out the lights in Congress," one BRT official said. With Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) joining the Senate, the patients' rights bill now enjoys a one- vote Senate majority, assuming Vice President Al Gore "casts the tie-breaking vote" (Koffler, 9/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.