Ad money set to flow in healthcare battle


Long time readers of RBR/TVBR will remember that Billy Tauzin was a major player in broadcast legislation as a Republican Congressman from Louisiana. He’s still a big player inside the beltway, but now as a lobbyist, and that’s soon to mean big bucks for broadcasters.

Operating on the idea that whichever part of the healthcare industry steps up first to cut a deal with President Barack Obama on healthcare reform gets the best deal, Tauzin has cut a deal for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), where he is now President and CEO. According to the New York Times, along with cutting that deal to support Obama’s legislation, PhRMA has agreed to spend as much as $150 million on TV commercials to build public support. That’s apparently a small price to pay for to deal to cap the drug industry’s contributions to the healthcare plan at $80 billion over 10 years.

To put that $150 million it in perspective, that’s more than the $126 million that the 2008 McCain campaign spent on TV, but less than the $236 million by the Obama campaign.

In response, the National Republican Trust PAC is out to raise cash for its own campaign to counter the PhRMA blitz. It’s already authorized a $100,000 ad buy to oppose “ObamaScare.” Those ads are also making a fundraising pitch, which the PAC hopes will bring in $1 million for even more ads against the President’s healthcare legislation.

Noting the way money has been thrown around in Washington for stimulus programs, the National Republican Trust PAC has also asked the Obama Administration for $1 billion in stimulus funds for its message. Don’t hold your breath for that to happen.