AMA, ACS hit Washington on insurance crusade

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With advocacy groups pouring millions into advertising and PR aimed at influencing the national debate on health insurance, it must be a presidential election cycle.

In August, the American Medical Association launched a three-year, multi-million dollar ad and PR campaign nudging politicians to expand coverage, while the American Cancer Society announced it would spend its $15 million ad budget on spots tacking the issue. AARP is partnering with the Business Roundtable and the Service Employees Industrial Union on a campaign called “Divided We Fail.” Meanwhile, Lance Armstrong hosted cancer-themed presidential debates, and Iowa is crawling with health advocacy orgs.

The AMA's “Voice for the Uninsured” campaign  promotes its plan to cover uninsured Americans through a mix of tax credits for lower-income consumers, greater choice of insurance plans and making insurance mandatory.

Year one will focus on Washington, DC, and the early primary states, with TV, print, radio and online ads, along with on pharmacy bags, billboards and transit stations. The group sponsored a day at the Iowa State Fair, a key presidential primary destination, and had a presence at the Iowa Straw Poll. Next year, the campaign will expand nationally. Print and TV ads are being executed by Chicago agency Lou Beres & Associates. Lincoln Strategies, a Carlisle, MA-based public affairs shop, is assisting  with logistical support in key primary states.

Meanwhile, ACS, saying that lack of insurance is a bigger factor in cancer deaths than tobacco, is airing two 60-second TV ads, executed by Atlanta ad shop TG Madison, along with print ads.

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