Although the organization already distributed an ad in some Beltway publications last month, it is expanding that message on a larger scale, according to Richard Pollack, executive vice president for advocacy and public policy at the American Hospital Association, one of the members of the Coalition that began in 2000. Pollack described the effort as a “multimillion, multiweek” campaign that will be seen on the national cable channels—MSNBC, Fox and CNN—and also broadcast in local networks. The campaign will also include print and radio spots.
“The big difference here is television, which obviously has a major, major impact in going broader,” Pollack says.
In a print ad titled “Enough is Enough,” (PDF) the coalition emphasized a message hospitals continue to repeat: that deficit-reduction proposals on Capitol Hill fail to recognize that hospitals are still dealing with $155 billion in payment reductions from last year's health reform law. And additional cuts, they say, will translate into eliminated services, longer wait times for care, shuttered emergency departments and reduced staffing levels at hospitals. The campaign also provides an 800-number for the public to call Congress and urge lawmakers not to allow the cuts in any plan to reduce the nation's mounting deficit.
Debt talks continue in Washington, where President Barack Obama was expected to meet Tuesday with Senate Democrats on the issue. The Treasury Department has given an Aug. 2 deadline to raise the nation's current $14.3 trillion debt limit or else default. “We're going to be running it as long as we have to,” Pollack says of the campaign. “Right now, through Aug. 2—or until there is some agreement.”