The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), in partnership with the Alliance to Improve Medicare (AIM), has just completed a national advertising campaign urging Congress to pass comprehensive Medicare reform legislation with a prescription drug benefit.
The “Don’t Come Home Without It” campaign began September 26 with print and television ads that ran for four weeks in 20 states, 21 targeted Congressional districts, and inside the Beltway.
A trade association representing more than 18,000 health insurance professionals nationwide, NAHU was among the most active proponents of H.R. 1 and S. 1, the House and Senate Medicare reform bills that passed in June 2003. As a member of the AIM steering committee, NAHU has since turned its attention to the conference committee that has been working to hammer out differences between the two bills. AIM and NAHU hope to have a measure reported out of the committee and on the President’s desk for signature before Congress adjourns for the year.
“NAHU believes access to affordable prescription drugs should be an integral part of an overall reform plan that addresses serious flaws in the almost 30-year-old [Medicare] program,” stated Janet Trautwein, NAHU’s vice president of government affairs. “We hope for the sake of our nation’s current and future seniors that Congress takes advantage of this year’s opportunity to approve legislation to improve Medicare and provide seniors with much-needed prescription drug coverage.”
AIM is a broad-based coalition that has worked for several years on behalf of Medicare reform. Its “Don’t Come Home Without It” campaign urges voters to contact their representatives in Congress, demanding Medicare reform be completed before the session’s end. The campaign also included an Internet component, targeting senior citizens and directing them to the AIM Web site for additional information and an opportunity to contact their elected representatives.
Trautwein told Health Care News the media campaign complemented an ongoing grassroots effort to reach more than 75,000 senior citizens nationwide. According to Trautwein, “These seniors have received regular updates on the status of Medicare legislation in the 108th Congress and have sent more than 12,000 e-mails and faxes to congressional offices since June 2003. We believe Medicare beneficiaries should enjoy the same kind of health care choices and quality plans health insurers already offer to millions of Americans in the private insurance market.
“Some advantages of private health plans,” Trautwein points out, “are they typically offer more choices and adapt more quickly to changes in medicine and technology. It is vital Congress reach a bipartisan agreement that strengthens and improves Medicare, a system on which millions of seniors depend.”
AIM has developed a Web site, http://seniorsarewaiting.org, so seniors can write to their Congressional representatives to encourage support for meaningful Medicare reform.
Conrad F. Meier is managing editor of Health Care News. His email address is [email protected].
For more information …
on the “Don’t Come Home Without It” campaign, contact Janet Trautwein, NAHU vice president of government affairs, at 703/276-3806, email [email protected] or Kelly Loussedes, NAHU director of public relations, at 703/276-3835, email [email protected]. Visit the NAHU Web site at http://www.nahu.org or the AIM Web site at http://www.reformmedicare.org.