Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Real Astroturf In Health Care Reform

PhRMA has joined Health Economy Now, a coalition that is spending tens of millions of dollars on an advertising campaign aimed at convincing Americans to support a broad restructuring of the country’s healthcare system. Other members include the AARP, the largest advocacy group for retirees; the Advanced Medical Technology Association; the Business Roundtable; Families USA; the Service Employees International Union; and the American Medical Association.

The healthcare coalition’s advertising campaign is also facing scrutiny for hiring two firms that received $343.3 million to handle advertising for Obama’s White House run last year. AKPD Message and Media was run by David Axeldrod until he left at the end of December to serve as a senior adviser to the president. The other firm is GMMB Campaign Group, whose partner Jim Margolis also served as an Obama strategist. Over the weekend, Bloomberg News reported that AKPD still owes Axelrod $2 million, which it is set to begin paying in installments starting on Dec. 31. Axelrod’s son, Michael, also still works there. Calls to AKPD and Health Economy Now were not immediately returned.

"Some may wonder whether White House senior advisers earning millions of dollars paid for in part by the pharmaceutical industry represents the kind of change Americans can believe in,” House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) said in a Tuesday release.

PhRMA’s Johnson said his organization was only one member of the Healthy Economy Now coalition, but noted that no one at the association made the decision to hire AKPD and GMMB. “We trust and respect the decisions made by the campaign,” he said. Johnson also denied reports that the coalition would spend $150 million on the advertising campaign, calling them “speculative.” He would not say, however, how much PhRMA planned to spend or how much it had spent on the campaign so far, saying only that it would make a “substantial investment

1 comment:

Serenity valley said...

Its OK we can read. Unlike our congresspeople & Senators