Re: OT Edwards backs mandatory preventive care
- From: "JoeSpareBedroom" <dishborealis@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 03 Sep 2007 14:23:19 GMT
Cancer Society Focuses Its Ads on the Uninsured
By KEVIN SACK
ATLANTA, Aug. 30 - In a stark departure from past practice, the American
Cancer Society plans to devote its entire $15 million advertising budget
this year not to smoking cessation or colorectal screening but to the
consequences of inadequate health coverage.
The campaign was born of the group's frustration that cancer rates are not
dropping as rapidly as hoped, and of recent research linking a lack of
insurance to delays in detecting malignancies.
Though the advertisements are nonpartisan and pointedly avoid specific
prescriptions, they are intended to intensify the political focus on an
issue that is already receiving considerable attention from presidential
candidates in both parties.
The society's advertisements are unique, say experts in both philanthropy
and advertising, in that disease-fighting charities traditionally limit
their public appeals to narrower aspects of prevention or education.
But the leaders of several such organizations, including the American Heart
Association, the American Diabetes Association and the Alzheimers
Association, said they applauded the campaign's message that progress
against chronic disease would be halting until the country fixed its health
As in the past, the heart association is using its advertising dollars these
days to promote more rigorous exercise and healthier diets. The most recent
cancer society campaign encouraged screening for colon cancer, including a
memorable commercial in which a diner plucked - and then ate - a lima bean
polyp from the intestinal tract he had carved in his mashed potatoes.
But John R. Seffrin, the chief executive of the cancer society, which is
based here, said his organization had concluded that advances in prevention
and research would have little lasting impact if Americans could not afford
cancer screening and treatment.
"I believe, if we don't fix the health care system, that lack of access will
be a bigger cancer killer than tobacco," Mr. Seffrin said in an interview.
"The ultimate control of cancer is as much a public policy issue as it is a
medical and scientific issue."
The two 60-second television commercials that form the spine of the campaign
make that point.
One features images of uninsured cancer patients, appearing hollow and
fearful. "This is what a health care crisis looks like to the American
Cancer Society," the narrator begins. "We're making progress, but it's not
enough if people don't have access to the care that could save their lives."
The other commercial depicts a young mother whose family has gone into debt
because her insurance did not fully cover her cancer treatment. "Is the
choice between caring for yourself and caring for your family really a
choice?" the narrator asks.
Census figures released this week show that the number and percentage of
people in the United States without health insurance rose last year, to 47
million and 15.8 percent. A 2003 study estimated that one of every 10 cancer
patients was uninsured.
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