Health Care Ad Wars: TV Spots Amp Up As Final Vote Nears (VIDEO)

After a cooling off period when health care reform legislation seemed nearly dead, television ad spending is now spiking. Interest groups attempting to swap public opinion and votes in Washington on both sides of the debate are funneling cash into health care ads that experts predict won’t let up until after the midterm elections.

“We’re going to see a fairly intense couple of weeks as health care reaches the endgame, but advertising related to this issue will only continue,” Evan Tracey, president of the Campaign Media Analysis group which tracks ad spending, told me in an interview this morning.

America’s Health Insurance Plans and Health Care for America Now sparred yesterday on the air over high costs of insurance and the massive rate hikes we’ve been tracking at TPMDC.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce started a new campaign yesterday as well and Tracey expects interest groups to continue jumping into the fray. “These ads are here to stay, we know both sides will make the fall a referendum on health care,” Tracey said.

Last month we reported that spending in late January after Scott Brown won the special election in Massachusetts plummeted to “barely” $1 million per week. Tracey told me this morning the data isn’t in yet, but spending might have been in the range of $1 million for the entire month of February.

In the summer, fall and winter of 2009, interest groups on both sides spent more than $1 million per day on television ads, with more than 390,000 ads airing the whole year. Spending totaled $210 million in 2009 through January 2010, Tracey’s group calculates.

Here’s another ad to hit the airwaves yesterday, a DNC television spot targeting the Republicans over the AHIP policy conference taking place in Washington.

The White House has stepped up its focus on health care in recent weeks, with President Obama hitting the campaign trail Monday and today. They also have started a new messaging campaign on the White House Web site, each day featuring a new number to showcase the people affected by the health care system.

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