While insurers may be having second thoughts about President Obama's health care plan, Politico reports that drug manufacturers like what they see emerging from Congress enough to start planning commercials urging legislators to vote for it:
The drug industry, which has held off running ads until officials sign off on the final reconciliation bill, is growing more comfortable with the emerging legislation and is preparing a substantial pro-reform ad buy in 43 Democratic districts, according to a senior industry source. The amount and timing of the buy have not yet been set and hinge largely on action in the House. Still, the development is a substantial step forward from Monday morning, when industry officials, coming off a tough weekend of negotiating with Democratic staffers, said there were no ads in the works. The movement should also help appease the White House, which has been leaning on the industry to provide Democrats air cover, according to industry sources.
Since the message that "Big Pharma Supports Health Care Reform" is not likely to make a vote for it more popular, the ads presumably will be disguised to conceal their evil corporate sponsorship. But that's OK, because the cause is just! Corporate speech must be strictly limited to prevent corruption of the political process, except when it's useful.
Here (PDF), also by way of Politico, is the ad that the insurers' trade group ran in today's Wall Street Journal, arguing that "the current reform proposals need to do far more to address skyrocketing health care costs." The ad implicitly objects to the insurers' recent role as Obama's designated villains, insisting that "the people who work at health insurance plans are conscientious, dedicated men and women from all walks of life who are working hard every day to improve health care." But it also says "we strongly support real health care reform that covers all Americans" and "makes pre-existing conditions a thing of the past." That last goal, an inept reference to covering people no matter how sick they are, is more ambitious than anything Obama has proposed to do.