A $500,000 television and radio ad campaign blaming GOP lawmakers for not seeking lower prices for the Medicare prescription drug program has been launched by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America on Tuesday.
The ad campaign accusing the lawmakers for blocking provisions that would have required Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for the best prescription cost has been targeted against the Republican House members from Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Mexico, Ohio and North Carolina.
Chris Mather, the association spokeswoman said, "be it at the gas pump, the pharmacy or in our courts, these politicians in Washington are putting corporate profits ahead of the health and well-being of their constituents."
The spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee, Carl Forti, scoffed at the trial lawyers association's ad campaign and said "I can't figure out what angle they're going to take that they can sue somebody over."
The Republicans backed Medicare prescription drug program offers retirees subsidizes drug benefits through competing plans from health insurers, but most Democrats have opposed it saying the benefits would have been cheaper if the law would have allowed Medicare to negotiate with the companies for lower prices. Trial lawyers are considered one of the Democrats main bases of financial support.
A 10 million dollar ad campaign by U.S. Chamber of Commerce thanked Republican lawmakers who backed the drug program when it passed in November 2003. Last week, the Associated Press reported that at least a part of the chamber's ad campaign was financed by the drug industry and its main advocacy group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Democrats seized on the disclosure to renew their charge that the program amounts to a Republican-engineered windfall for drug companies.
Both the chamber and the trial lawyers' ads, which will run through September 7, are aimed at the seniors as they recognize the significance of older people as a powerful voting bloc in the midterm election when control of Congress hangs in the balance.
However, the efforts of trial lawyers targeting congressional Republicans on prescription drug votes seems to be having no effect as the polls show broad satisfaction with the plan, dulling its potency as a political issue.