ABC News' Elizabeth Gorman reports:
The first time America saw Harry and Louise together on television, paying bills and discussing health care, Louise told Harry, “Having choices we don't like is no choice at all.” Subsequently, health care didn’t pass, and ‘Harry and Louise’ slipped into popular culture as one factor explaining why it didn’t.
That was 1993. Today, they’re back. And this time, more in sync with the White House, according to its creators.
“Well it looks like we may finally get health care reform,” Harry tells Louise in the new ad, "Get the Job Done." "A little more cooperation, a little less politics, and we can get the job done this time," responds Louise.
The new $4 million ad airing this weekend on the Sunday talk shows comes from the original producer of the first series, and is sponsored by two large insurance companies, Families USA and PhRMA. The ad will run for several weeks on cable and broadcast networks.
“I think it has the potential of having the same societal impact," the ad’s writer and director, Ben Goddard of Goddard Claussen, told ABC News. "Many people find it interesting because the popular perception is that they [Harry and Louise] started out opposed to a health reform plan, and now we’ve come full circle and they’re in favor of a health care reform plan.”
Goddard said that while the original 'Harry and Louise' ad criticized Clinton’s approach to health care, it never rejected the idea of health care reform.
“What really turned it into ‘Harry and Louise’ vs. the Bill and Hillary campaign was the response of the Clinton White House. Hillary in particular responded very personally. And in fact, in sidebar conversations, we made clear that if we could just come to agreement on a few issues, that we would be glad to put ‘Harry and Louise’ on the air in support of the Clinton plan,” Goddard told ABC News.
“While the popular perception has been for some time that it was an anti-health care reform campaign, it would be more accurate to say it questioned the wisdom of the proposal that the Hillary’s health committee cooked up essentially behind closed doors without input from the industry.” Goddard said that this time around, the President wants to include private insurance policies as part of the solution.
Both “Harry and Louise” actors and their director Goddard — who married the actress playing Louise in both the 1993 and 2009 ads — were on the Hill today along with representatives of insurance companies and key leaders in the health care industry, speaking in support of the Affordable Health Choices Act. That act, passed by the Senate’s HELP committee yesterday, includes a public option.
But Goddard said that the new ad doesn’t take a particular stance on which plan is best, but rather supports momentum in Congress for a plan that’s “got to be obtainable, affordable, and portable.”
“They [Harry and Louise] certainly are in favor of the principle of health care reform; I don’t think they’re going to take a position yet to endorse any of the particular plans,” he said.