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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Recycled Health Care Ad

A coalition of liberal and union groups called Health Care for America Now has announced the release of two television ads and several print ads thanking Democratic senators and members of Congress for supporting President Obama’s health care plan. The two television ads laud Sens. Harry Reid of Nevada and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and will run in each senator’s home state for five days, according to a press release from the group. Here’s the one congratulating Reid:

If the ad looks familiar, that’s because it is. Its content is largely the same as that in an ad released by the group in June that we found "lacks some important context, and in a few instances is misleading."

Once again the group asks viewers to envision the benefits of a public health care plan: ""What if we stripped away the 13 billion dollar insurance company profits? The 119 million dollar CEO bonuses?" HCAN released a report with those figures for 10 health insurance companies. We checked the SEC filings and found that the numbers are right – but HCAN’s own report calculated the $119 million dollars as "total compensation" for CEOs, not just "bonuses," as the ad says.

And while health care companies and their CEOs have certainly profited handsomely, it’s still important for anyone hoping to trim costs in our health care system to keep those numbers in perspective. As we said in June:

FactCheck.org: In 2007, national health care expenditures totaled $2.2 trillion. Health insurance profits of nearly $13 billion make up 0.6 percent of that. CEO compensation is a mere 0.005 percent of total spending. What if that was stripped away? Well, it wouldn’t amount to a whole lot of savings for the health care system.

Read our original report for more.