Congress returns from recess next week and health care  reform will again be on the agenda. For much of the August break, contentious town hall meetings and protests underscored the deep division between consumers who support the proposed reforms and those who do not. Interested parties, including political and others such as manufacturers, have already spent $60 million ($45 million on local TV) on TV advertising  in order to sway consumer 845207_sala_de_parto_05opinion. Industry experts predict the spending will continue through the end of 2009 according to an article on Broadcasting & Cable. “CMAG President Evan Tracey says the ad money will continue to gush. ‘Big issues are typically not resolved quickly…and this is a big issue.’”

A major spender continues to be the pharmaceutical industry’s main trade group, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America which plans to spend $150 million this year on TV, radio and print advertising. PhRMA’s ads will come out in support of the Obama administration’s attempt to reform health care. Opposition groups, such as the Club for Growth, are less well-funded but still plan to spend on advertising. If the debate drags on into 2010, legislators and political parties may find themselves spending on ad campaigns that show their position on health care as well as their desire to be re-elected. For now, much of the spending will be concentrated in what are seen as battleground states – those represented by moderate Democratic senators. This includes Louisiana, Indiana and Maine.

[Sources: Obama Health Care Reform Effort…Workforce Management, 8.14.09; Malone, Michael. Stations’ Health Care Windfall..Broadcasting & Cable, 8.20.09]