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Exclusive: MoveOn Whacks Finance Bill Hours Before Committee Vote

First Posted: 03/18/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 03:20 PM ET

Just hours before the Senate Finance Committee is set to vote (and likely pass) its version of health care reform legislation, the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org has announced a new television advertisement slamming the final product.

Narrated by former health insurance executive Wendell Potter, the spot accuses private insurance of trying to "kill health reform" and whacks the committee for not including a public option to keep the industry honest.

"Take it from me," Potter says, "the Senate Finance bill is a dream come true of the health insurance industry. If there is no public option insurance companies aren't going to change. The choice of a public health insurance option is the only way to keep insurance companies honest."

The ad, which will air on national cable this week, was released in anticipation of today's Finance Committee vote. A spokesman for MoveOn said the spot was spurred by a report released yesterday from the insurance lobby, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), which also slammed the finance committee bill -- for having an insufficient individual mandate.

All of which underscores how much more political distance health care reform has to travel. While legislation is expected to pass through the committee late on Tuesday, it has also sparked sharp dissent in the closing days from both sides of the debate. AHIP may be skittish about the bill. But the progressive community hates it just as much if not more so. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in short, has a real uphill climb ahead as he tries to merge the two Senate pieces of legislation with the threat of a massive private insurance pushback firmly on the horizon.

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