AARP’s state director says the organization is buying millions of dollars worth of ad time on radio and television to try to "cut through the noise" on health care reform. Bruce Koeppl, Iowa state director for AARP, says he doesn’t know how big this national ad buy is, only that it’s "millions of dollars worth" of advertising.
"This is a campaign that’s focused on dealing with some of the myths that are being portrayed out in the public debate right now and trying to not only scare seniors, but also confuse them," Koeppl says.
The AARP office in Des Moines, for example, has been fielding questions about whether the health care plan would create a government panel that would decide who lives and who dies. Koeppl calls that a "lie" — one of many that he says opponents of health care reform are peddling in hopes of confusing seniors.
"We hope that these ads will help them cut through the noise and find the facts about health care reform for them and their families," Koeppl says.
Koeppl is urging AARP members to attend the town hall meetings Iowa’s congressional delegation is holding this month. Koeppl says he’s surprised by the "aggressiveness" health care reform opponents have shown at recent town hall meetings here and elsewhere.
"That’s unfortunate. In fact, it doesn’t help the process and, you know, we’ve held different meetings throughout the state…People had different opinions, different ideas, but we did it in a civil way," Koeppl says. "I think there are groups of people who are motivated by a political agenda, but there are also people who are sincere about what their concerns are and those people, quite frankly, are not getting a chance to ask those questions and hear the answers from members of congress, because of the disruptions."
AARP held a series of forums in Iowa this past April with Senator Grassley and in June with Senator Harkin to give AARP members a chance to talk with each policymaker about health care reform.
AARP has more information about their ad campaign available online at www.healthactionnow.org .