Health care reform boosting TV ad sales

If you watch television,  you’ve likely seen health care reform ads – lots of health care reform ads.

The Washington Post is reporting that $52 million has been spent on health care advertising so far this year – and with the August congressional recess, there is likely to be even more commercials covering the airwaves.

The Campaign Media Analysis Group is counting the ads and the money spent, in what has become this year’s biggest advertising campaign. (By contrast, more than $3 billion was spent last year on advertising for the presidential campaign.)

Campaign Media Analysis says that about $23 million has been spent by associations in favor of overhauling the system – but not necessarily in favor of the plans currently being debated in Congress.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America joined nonprofit Families USA and has spent $4 million updating the “Harry and Louise” commercials from the 1990s.

America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group, is running a “seven-figure” buy on cable TV, calling for affordable health care. The group has seen insurance companies take a public relations hit as Congress debates reform – and places the blame for much of the costs on their industry.

“At this point in the summer of 2009, the country should be in the midst of a transformative national conversation about health care reform,” said Karen Ignaci, president of AHIP in a statement released this week. “Instead, a campaign has been launched to demonize health plans and the men and women who work hard every day in their communities to provide health insurance coverage to more than 200 million Americans.”