While Washington this week has been largely engrossed by President Obama's Supreme Court pick, the debate over health care reform has continued to gain momentum. Two new conservative responses to reform thrust the issue back into the spotlight today.
The nonprofit Americans for Prosperity Foundation launched a new campaign called Patients United Now "to educate citizens about the threat of government controlled health care."
As part of the campaign, an ad called "Survivor" was released on Wednesday that says Washington wants to bring "Canadian-style" health care to the U.S. -- meaning dangerously long waits for care, if it is to be received at all.
The ad features a Canadian who suffered from a brain tumor who says, "If I'd relied on my government for health care, I'd be dead."
Americans For Prosperity has funded a number of campaigns that promote limited government and free market ideas. The group enlisted Sam "Joe The Plumber" Wurzelbacher to speak at rallies against the Employee Free Choice Act, a pro-union bill, and it opposed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at NoStimulus.com. Its "Hot Air Tour" focuses on "exposing the ballooning costs of global warming hysteria."
Meanwhile, the group Conservatives for Patients' Rights began airing on Wednesday a 30-minute documentary-style video entitled "End of Patient's Rights — The Human Consequences of Government-Run Health Care." The video is airing nationally on cable networks and will air on A&E, the History Channel and the Washington NBC affiliate after "Meet the Press" on Sunday, according to Politico.
Conservatives for Patients' Rights is run by Rick Scott, the former chairman and CEO of Columbia/ HCA. The health care company's board of directors forced Scott out of the company amid a fraud scandal surrounding its billing practices.
Both new ad campaigns attack the notion of a "government-run" health care plan -- an idea promoted heavily by liberal organizations.
A key member of the House of Representatives said Wednesday that a health care bill will not make it through the House unless it gives the public the choice of signing up for a government-managed plan rather than a privately-run insurance plan, Bloomberg reported.
"It's my political judgment a plan without the public option would not be able to pass the House," said Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee -- the committee that oversees tax laws.
In the Senate last week, 28 senators signed a resolution demanding that a public option be included in health care reform legislation.
While Congress has the week off, it will soon pick up the issue of health care reform again. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is expected to work on a health care bill sometime in June. Leaders in the House of Representatives promised to have a comprehensive health care reform package ready for a vote by the end of July.