A coalition of major insurance companies and drug manufacturers plans to air a series of ads attacking Medicare for All during the 2020 Democratic presidential debate Thursday night, ensuring the event's commercial breaks will feature talking points from the corporate interests profiting off America's dysfunctional for-profit healthcare system.
The Partnership for America's Health Care Future (PAHCF), which was formed in 2018 to combat Medicare for All, said it will run ads on both ABC and Univision, the two networks hosting the Democratic debate in Houston, Texas.
The coalition said it also plans to "run advertisements on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, as well as a takeover of YouTube's homepage following the debate."
The blitz is part of a seven-figure ad buy aimed at perpetuating the right-wing narrative that Medicare of All would increase Americans' healthcare costs and income taxes.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the ad campaign shows "industry groups view Medicare for All as a serious threat in a 2020 election."
Two out of the three leading Democratic presidential contenders, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), are vocal supporters of Medicare for All and and poll after poll shows it is a popular solution among voters across the political spectrum.
Sanders's Medicare for All plan would eliminate co-pays, premiums, and deductibles and guarantee comprehensive healthcare to everyone in the U.S.
An analysis published Thursday by the People's Policy Project showed Medicare for All could cut the poverty rate by 20 percent, and studies have shown single-payer has the potential to save the U.S. trillions of dollars over the next decade.
PAHCF's ads make the opposite argument, characterizing Medicare for All as a "one-size-fits-all" program that would hike costs and reduce quality of care.
One of the spots set to air during Thursday night's debate, titled "Threat," states without evidence that Medicare for All could "double everyone's income taxes."
Progressive critics were quick to slam the ad:
"Mommy when I grow up I want to be so rich that I can buy crappy propaganda attack ads that protect other rich peop… https://t.co/X9JpOWJH5j— Nomiki Konst (@Nomiki Konst) 1568305475.0
What a surprise, insurers and drug makers are attacking Medicare buy-in and the public option just as much as Medic… https://t.co/LxrDBsWJgJ— Ryan Grim (@Ryan Grim) 1568305459.0
David Sirota, speechwriter for the Sanders campaign, said the ad blitz is an attempt by healthcare industry lobbyists "to buy tonight's Democratic debate—as part of their campaign to buy the 2020 election."