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Business foes of health care reform outspend supporters 2-to-1 — MedCity Morning Read, Nov. 17, 2009

Business foes of health care reform legislation are outspending supporters at a rate of 2-to-1 for television advertisements as they get nervous about a final bill.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Business foes of health care reform legislation are outspending supporters at a rate of 2-to-1 for television advertisements as they get nervous about a final bill, according to the Associated Press.

Led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, opponents of the Democratic health care overhaul spent $24 million on TV commercials over the past month to $12 million spent by labor unions and other backers, the AP reported in a Philadelphia Inquirer story. That’s a reversal from the vast spending advantage supporters enjoyed most of this year, according to Evan Tracey, president of Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political ads.

More than half of the opposition spending has been by the chamber, the AP said. With the House narrowly approving its health overhaul on Nov. 7 and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, drafting his measure behind closed doors, the outpouring of cash underscores how crunch time has arrived for business and other groups trying to shape or scuttle the legislation.

“There’s no input from any of us, no input from Republicans” as Reid puts the bill together, said R. Bruce Josten, the chamber’s top lobbyist. “So what option do we have than to take our message and story to the American people?”

At the same time, the chamber has circulated an e-mail to business groups asking them to support a $50,000 study by a “respected economist” of the proposed health care overhaul. The study would be used for a letter, ads and other lobbying efforts to argue that the bill “will kill jobs and hurt the economy,” according to the e-mail.

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