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Health Care Ads Could Pick Up After the Break

The ads will air in Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington.

“We’re asking Senators to support the President’s plan to cover everyone, lower costs, and provide the choice of health care plans, including a public health insurance option,” Richard Kirsch, a campaign manager for the coalition, said in a statement.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees also may run television ads on health care during the recess. AFSCME lobbyist Chuck Loveless said that the union was still mulling it over as of press time.

But if the group does run ads, Loveless said, it will focus on two issues: support for a public plan and bashing the proposed taxation of employer-provided insurance. Union bosses are becoming increasingly concerned that their employees’ insurance plans will be taxed to offset the proposed plan.

AFSCME has already run television ads in Oregon opposing the proposed tax. Loveless also said that the union is planning “extensive grass-roots activities” this week.

The Service Employees International Union, too, is planning a grass-roots campaign this week. SEIU is planning events in Arkansas, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. In the Keystone State, SEIU will host events in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Scranton and Media.

Business groups appear to be holding their fire for now. National Association of Manufacturers spokesman Hank Cox confirmed that his organization is not planning to run ads during the July Fourth recess, saying broadcast media is “not our first choice” in opposing the bill.

Instead, his group will use the break to educate its members about the consequences of the current policy proposals.

Still, depending on the bill’s final language, Cox said, it’s conceivable that his group will shell out for television spots.

And he was not alone. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue also said his group will not stand by idly if its members disapprove of the ultimate legislation.

“If we decided what was in that bill had to be defeated — which we’re not there at all — we’d do whatever we have to do to beat it,” Donohue said. “I’m still working on getting a workable bill.”

Anna Palmer and Matthew Murray contributed to this report.

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