Monday, 05 October 2009

Coalition Urges ObamaCare Support

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Health Equity for AllThe coalition Health Equity For All is launching a series of television commercials and print ads to promote Obama's healthcare reform. The ads appeal to minorities, linking the healthcare debate to the civil rights movement. It places the blame of high health costs on insurance companies that are supposedly only concerned about profits. And it asks viewers to contact their senators, urging support for healthcare reform legislation before the U.S. Senate.

The coalition's website reads, "Recent studies have shown that the impact of inequality in the health care system falls most heavily on communities of color." The website links to only one study, a July 2009 report by Health Care for America Now! (HCAN) entitled "Unequal Lives: Healthcare Discrimination Harms Communities of Color." (HCAN is another coalition of grassroots organization that claims it has the support of both President Obama and Vice President Biden.)

The coalition calls for "reform that addresses that inequity and creates a comprehensive, affordable system covering all U.S. residents." It says minorities not only have the highest rates of the most common diseases in the United States but also bear the highest costs of healthcare. It also claims that since the latest U.S. Census indicates minorities comprise 33 percent of the population, "these constituencies comprise the building blocks for a new majority that can reshape the policies and priorities of the country."

Viewers in four states will see the ads in either English or Spanish. The ads target by name Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Senator George LeMieux (R-Fla.), Senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.). According to the coalition, these states are chosen because of their large minority populations. The Arkansas version can be viewed here:

Six groups, calling themselves the "country's largest African-American and Latino organizations" make up the coalition: NAACP National Voter Fund, the National Council of La Raza, Campaign for Community Change, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and the United States Student Association. Separately, their agendas span the gamut of civil rights hot buttons, from fighting racial discrimination to arguing for "marriage equality." As a coalition, these groups claim that healthcare is a basic human right, and they demand "complete access and coverage for all legal residents."

Their ads are scheduled to run only a couple of months after ABC and NBC refused to run ads sponsored by the League of American Voters that criticized Obama's healthcare proposals.

Thumbnail photo: still from Health Equity for All TV commercial

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