As the health care battle moves to the airwaves during the August recess, the progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org has likened insurance companies to sharks, labeling them "the real predators" who "kill people each year."
The organization views the fierce ad, released in preparation for the Discovery Channel's Shark Week, as "an opportunity to pull the attention of popular culture onto the pressing issues of our time like health care reform," said Ilyse Hogue, MoveOn's director of political advocacy and communications.
The spot, which features sharks swimming in the sea, hammers insurance companies for "denying coverage while profiting billions." It specifically urges the inclusion of a public option, the component of the legislation Republicans and insurance companies most vehemently oppose.
The goal is "to remind the overwhelming majority of Americans that if we don't win, the predatory insurance industry is going to continue to govern their lives," Hogue told the Huffington Post.
A part of the strategy is to combat conservative disinformation. "If Americans really have to choose between insurance industry status quo running their health care and the Obama plan, they'd overwhelmingly choose the Obama plan," said Hogue.
This ad echoes the forceful criticism against insurance companies coming from President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Obama has worked to frame the debate as a struggle between public interest and corporate interests, saying "those who profit from the status quo ... will stop at nothing to block reform." Pelosi recently called insurance companies "the villains" in the health care crisis.
While MoveOn has not finalized its ad purchase yet, the group pledges to "keep the heat" on Republicans, as well as the Democrats they believe "are playing politics with the health care crisis," said Hogue.
Watch the ad:
They are enormous and powerful. They prey on our weaknesses, trying to separate the healthy from the sick. Their strategy is to confuse and exhaust their victims. And they kill people each year by denying coverage while profiting billions. During shark week, let's take on the real predators: health insurance companies. Call Congress, tell them: don't put insurance profits before health care. Support a real public option.