Last year, the healthcare industry formed a non-profit called Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, designed to fight Medicare for All. It’s a coalition of pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, and hospitals. It is big, bad, and very nasty.
Today, they’ve released their first TV ad, with a five-figure ad buy running over the next three weeks, according to the Hill. It’s two and a half minutes long, and it’s full of lies. Just lie after lie, packed in like T-shirts in a KonMari’d drawer.
For example, the ad’s first claim is that “nearly 180 million Americans with employer-provided coverage have access to affordable, quality healthcare.” This is basically meaningless. What’s “affordable?” Does every single one of those 180 million people think their care is affordable? Is that why 60 percent of Americans, which surely includes many in that 180 million, are worried about health insurance premiums? Or that almost 50 percent said healthcare was getting more expensive? And what happens when one of those 180 million people loses their job?
It’s also surprisingly... Shit? Like, it’s a poor quality, not good, made in Windows Movie Maker-lookin’ ass ad. Poor effort for what must have been a large investment.
But if you want to get a sense for what the Medicare for All fight over the next few years is going to look like, watch this ad. These are the lies and distortions we will hear over and over again. You won’t hear any solutions to people dying because their insulin costs too much or people turning to GoFundMe to help pay down their medical debt. You’ll hear a lot about a “conversation” about costs and lots of scary warnings about losing coverage, but you will never hear about people who lose coverage because they leave their job, for example.
This ad buy is “part of a larger six-figure effort that will continue through the year,” according to the Hill, though I’d be shocked if they only spent six figures on this throughout the year. The group is funded by the wealthiest healthcare trade groups in DC, including PhRMA, which had revenue of $456 million in 2017. They have (your) money to burn.
So where are the groups on the left to respond? Where’s Tom Steyer? Where’s Majority Forward, the biggest dark money spender in the midterms? Will anyone at all step forward to run anything to counter the corporate propaganda that’s going to be blasted into living rooms across the country? We certainly don’t want to be reliant on billionaire money for policy change, but under what fucked scheme is it efficient for Tom Steyer to spend $40 million on trying to get Donald Trump impeached—which won’t happen and would result in a President Pence if it did—instead of even $4 million on ads countering healthcare industry lies?
The billionaire money is on their side, not ours, which makes it that much harder. If we get Medicare for All, it won’t be through TV ads and dark money nonprofits; it will only be through organizing.