AMA Campaign Touts Universal Health Insurance Coverage Proposal

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The American Medical Association on Thursday launched "Voice for the Uninsured,"a three-year, multimillion-dollar advertising campaign intended toinfluence the health care debate in the 2008 election and promote itsplan for providing health coverage for the uninsured, the Los Angeles Times reports (Lauer, Los Angeles Times,8/24). AMA's health plan includes the use of tax credits to helpindividuals purchase insurance, and the group supports increasingfederal funds to expand government health programs, such as SCHIP(Tanner, AP/Houston Chronicle, 8/23).

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Thecampaign will promote AMA's health care plan in three stages. In thefirst stage, AMA this year will spend $5 million to advertise in Iowa,New Hampshire and South Carolina, which all have early primaries, andin Washington, D.C. The ads will appear in radio, television and print,as well as on billboards, prescription bags at pharmacies and placardson mass transit, according to the Times. "These earlystates are going to be the first people to cast their vote for who goesto office next year," Nancy Nielsen, AMA president-elect, said.

Inthe second stage, which will occur in 2008, the ad campaign will extendnationwide. During the final stage, AMA will lobby Congress to passhealth care reform legislation by the end of 2009. Nielsen said, "Wewant to make sure when voters go into the voting booths ... they willkeep the issue of the uninsured in their minds."

The associationdoes not endorse candidates or provide contributions; instead, itencourages candidates from both political parties to incorporate AMA'sideas into their health care platforms rather than support asingle-payer system (Los Angeles Times, 8/24).
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