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CAMPAIGN 2000

Ad Watch

August 29, 2000|Jeff Leeds

GOP Targets Prescription Drug Plan as 'Big Government'

Republican Party officials are spending an estimated $7 million this week to air this 30-second commercial, entitled "Priority," in nine competitive states: Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.

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Producer

National Media, a GOP firm in Alexandria, Va., led by Alex Castellanos.

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The Pictures

Opens with a shot of prescription medicine bottles. Cuts to shots of Bush in front of an American flag, meeting with senior citizens, and speaking at a podium. Cuts to a shot of a television with Al Gore on its screen.

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Script

Announcer: "Under Clinton-Gore, prescription drug prices have skyrocketed-and nothing's been done. George Bush has a plan: add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare." Bush: "Every senior will have access to prescription drug benefits." Announcer: "And Al Gore? Gore opposed bipartisan reform. He's pushing a big government plan that lets Washington bureaucrats interfere with what your doctors prescribe. The Gore prescription plan: bureaucrats decide. The Bush prescription plan: seniors choose."

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Accuracy

The Clinton administration's health care reform package, which proposed to eliminate multitiered pricing of pharmaceutical, was defeated in Congress in 1993 and 1994. Bush has presented general ideas about a prescription drug plan in which low-income seniors would find a private insurance carrier offering prescription drug coverage, then seek Medicare subsidies to pay for it. He has also backed the recommendations of a bipartisan commission, which called for prescription subsidies for those with annual incomes below 135% of the poverty level. Gore says the commission's plan leaves out low-income seniors just above that level, and has offered a plan to add drug coverage to the existing Medicare package, paying 50% of the drug costs up to $5,000.

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Scorecard

By portraying Bush as a candidate with a drug plan of his own, GOP officials are seeking to blunt Gore's use of prescription costs as a means of differentiating himself. Democrats have also attacked Bush for not providing details of his plan. Separately, the Bush campaign is running its own ad, promoting his intent to provide prescription coverage. By criticizing "bureaucrats," the GOP is following a tactic used by the pharmaceutical industry.

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