$40 Mill Health Care Reform Campaign Launches

Jul 8, 2008 7:02pm

ABC News’ Molly Hunter Reports: Health Care For America NOW, a new grassroots movement working to bring affordable healthcare to Americans, announced its launch at the National Press Club in Washington Tuesday.

The $40 million campaign will spend $1.5 million on their first round of national TV, print and online advertising and an additional $25 million in paid media over the next five months.

"We are here today to announce the beginning of a new movement in the United States," Campaign Director Richard Kirsch said in an announcement made simultaneously in 52 U.S. cities.

The first TV ad which airs on cable and illustrates the organization’s strong opposition to the current health care system.

"We can’t trust insurance companies to fix the healthcare mess," states the ad.

Health Care For America NOW is a coalition of over 100 organizations and unions. Many leaders of high profile organizations and unions including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, SEIU, AFL-CIO, United Food and Commercial Workers, Campaign for America’s Future, Center for American Progress Action Fund, MoveOn.org and Planned Parenthood Federation of America were present in DC to speak at the launch.

Together with these organizations Health Care For America NOW "will mobilize millions of Americans to demand that the first order of business of the next President and Congress is to enact quality, affordable health care for all in 2009," Kirsch said. The campaign does not plan to endorse either presidential candidate or a specific health care plan.

Sen. John McCain’s, R-Ariz., health care plan provides tax credits of $5,000 for families in order to buy health insurance, and Sen. Barack Obama’s, D-Ill., plan mandates coverage for children and requires that employers share the cost of their employees’ health coverage.

Kirsch challenges each American to make a choice.

"We will be asking Members of Congress this year to tell us if they are on our side or the side of the health insurance industry," he said. 

Health Care for America NOW suggests three options to achieve universal health coverage. Individuals can stay with the private insurance they already have, join a new private insurance plan or choose a public health insurance plan.

"We are looking for a uniquely American solution," Kirsch said. "In our vision of healthcare reform, the government works for us."

The campaign aims to find a solution that is affordable for both people and businesses alike. USAction Executive Director, Jeff Blum, called the campaign, "the human rights movement of our time."

Leaders of the organizations echoed Kirsch and Blum’s sentiments, calling for urgent and forceful healthcare reform.

Gerald McEntee, the International President of AFSCME, stated: "Today, we say enough is enough! No more needless delays. No more idle discussion. No more political posturing. We’ve talked long enough, we need action!"

Roger Hickey, co-Director of the Campaign for America’s Future opted out of his prepared statement, instead saying, "Enough has been said, we are proud to be part of this coalition and we think we need to get on with the agenda. Let’s move it!"

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