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AMA Launches New Health-care Ad Blitz

The American Medical Association unveiled new print and television ads Thursday, promoting health-care coverage of the country’s 46 million uninsured.

In a press conference at the Capitol, AMA president Nancy Nielsen thanked Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) for tackling the issue in a bi-partisan fashion.

The two new AMA television ads are airing on national cable channels and the networks’ Sunday morning news shows, and three new print ads are running in medical trade journals, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report and Prevention. Online banners will also run on news, political and health websites, according to the association.

AMA’s latest buy is part of an advertising blitz by health-care lobbying giants that have been pitching the public for months. To be a priority of the next administration, many insiders believe health-care reform needs a higher profile with the presidential campaigns that have been consumed lately not only with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq but also with relentlessly bad economic news at home.

“It’s a little like a nagging toothache that you know you’ve got to take care. But if you get in an auto accident and break your leg, you don’t deal with the toothache until the leg is taken care of,” Bennett said, adding that health care is still the business community’s number one long-term concern.

A strong economy, Wyden said, depends on sound financial services, energy and health-care fundamentals.

“Health care is still the most personal issue, and that’s ultimately why this issue is going to move to the forefront during our new president’s first 100 days,” he said.