Thursday, January 15, 2009

Multi-Million Dollar Television Ad Buy Unveiled Today Promotes Health Care Reform as a Top Domestic Priority for the Next President and the New Congress

Washington, D.C. -- January 8, 2009 -- Six organizations representing consumers, physicians, insurers, patients and pharmaceutical research companies are banding together to launch a new multi-million dollar national television advertising buy. Their common message: In order to fix the ailing economy, the nation needs health care reform that addresses the related problems of health care costs and people losing health coverage.

The groups are the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the American Medical Association (AMA), Families USA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Regence BlueCross BlueShield, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

The ad will air at least until Feb. 5 and focuses visually on the nation’s manufacturing sector, but the organizations all agree that every sector of the economy will benefit from health care reform. The ad opens with: “At a time when American businesses are hurting, why should we worry about fixing health care? Because quality, affordable health care can save money and make businesses more competitive.”

“Cancer patients across the country—including those with insurance—often must dig deep into their savings and risk financial ruin to pay for cancer treatment and care,” said John R. Seffrin, Ph. D., Chief Executive Officer of the American Cancer Society and its advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN. “Elected officials should recognize what American families already know—that fixing the economy requires that we fix the broken health care system.”

“Healing our health care system is a key component to jumpstarting our national economy. As our new ad makes clear—quality, affordable health care is good for families and it's good for businesses,” said AMA President Nancy H. Nielsen, M.D.

“While businesses and families cope with unaffordable health care costs, many workers are losing their jobs and health coverage,” said Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA. “As a result, it’s clear that America’s economic difficulties require meaningful health care reform. It’s this message that animates our ad campaign.”

“Expanding access to quality and affordable health insurance is good for patients and good for our economy,” Billy Tauzin, President and CEO of PhRMA, said today. “Improved access means we can do more to promote prevention and more to detect and treat conditions at an early stage, when we can do the most to avoid poor health outcomes and costly complications of chronic diseases, which account for seven out of every ten deaths in America.”

“Given the nation’s economic and health care crises, now is the time to bring meaningful, lasting change to our health care system,” said Mark Ganz, President and CEO of Regence. “We urge President-elect Obama and Congressional leaders to bring together stakeholders who are willing to discard outdated concepts and collaborate on practical solutions.”

“As the economy sputters, the need to fix healthcare is becoming more and more urgent. The clock is ticking,” said Andy Stern, President of SEIU, the nation's largest union of healthcare workers. “It will take all of us—individuals, corporate leaders, healthcare providers and the government—working together to solve America's healthcare crisis.”

The ad was unveiled today by all the sponsoring organizations at a news conference in Washington, D.C.

About the sponsors:

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

The American Medical Association helps doctors help patients by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional and public health issues. Working together, the AMA's quarter of a million physician and medical student members are playing an active role in shaping the future of medicine. For more information on the AMA, please visit

Families USA is a national nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans. Working at the national, state, and community levels, we have earned a national reputation as an effective voice for health care consumers for 25 years. For more information, visit

With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and CEOs—benefit from today's global economy.

Regence BlueCross BlueShield is a leading health insurer in the Northwest/Mountain State Region, offering health, life and dental insurance. Regence serves nearly three million members as Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueShield (selected counties in Washington), Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield of Idaho. Each plan is a not-for-profit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regence is committed to improving the health of our members and our communities, and to transforming our health care system. For more information, please visit

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $44.5 billion in 2007 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $58.8 billion in 2007.

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