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GOP, Dems Offer Dueling Health Care Messages

5013485As Democrats and Republicans argue over the components of health care reform on Capitol Hill, their respective party organizations are taking the fight directly to the public.

The Republican National Committee today unveiled an ad targeting President Obama's health care agenda.

"President Obama talks about a 'public option,'" the ad says. "When he says 'public option,' that means putting government bureaucrats in charge... instead of patients and their doctors."

The RNC would not disclose to Hotsheet the amount it is spending to run the ad, but the 60-second spot will air on select national cable outlets on Wednesday. It is timed with Mr. Obama's prime-time ABC interview about health care.

"Today a national TV network turns its airwaves over to President Obama's pitch for government-run health care," the narrator complains in the RNC spot.

Meanwhile, the political arm of the Democratic National Committee, Organizing for America, has launched Health Care Stories For America, a database full of hundreds of thousands of stories about American citizens and businesses that have been burdened by rising health care costs. The database is searchable by location and invites visitors to input their own stories. It also allows visitors to "amplify" stories they like, so others browsing the database will be more likely to see it.

"I am a single mom, my story is all too familiar," starts one entry by a user named Elizabeth, from Falls Church, Va. "I could not afford health care for my children after my divorce so I rolled the dice and we were lucky."

OFA will also hold its "national health care day of service" on Saturday. It is encouraging people to perform service acts that promote better health care and healthier lifestyles, such as healthy food drives.

The debate over health care is highly partisan in Washington, and preferences are complicated among the American public. For instance, a recent CBS/ New York Times poll found that 72 percent of Americans (50 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Democrats) support a government-sponsored health care plan to compete with private insurers. Even with such overwhelming support for a "public option," however, two thirds of respondents said they were concerned their own health care would get worse if the government creates a system to provide health care to all Americans.

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