Healthcare is turning out to be the hot button issue for political spending in the upcoming election. More than half of all issues advertising this year has revolved around healthcare, and that spending will only increase as the 2020 campaign gets closer, according to new data from Advertising Analytics.
A report from Axios explains that a majority of the top healthcare spenders are focused on such issues as surprise medical bills and drug prices, many of which would cut into the healthcare industry's profits. In fact, the largest media spender to date is a “dark-money group” called Doctor Patient Unity, which has devoted more than $26 million on ads opposing Congress' plan to address surprise medical bills. “Doctors and hospitals staunchly oppose the leading proposal because it would cost them money,” Axios reports. Meanwhile, AARP and industry group the Partnership for Safe Medicines, are on the opposite side of the battle over drug prices, which will become more of an urgent issue in the fall.
While health care was a winning issue for Democrats in 2018, Advertising Analytics says that candidates are not spending much on healthcare messaging at this point. Meanwhile, another top 5 health spender is One Nation, which is running anti-Medicare for All ads. There are no pro-Medicare for All groups in the top 5, nor any groups running ads discussing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
Advertising Analytics believes that Democrats will “almost certainly” spend more time and money on healthcare further into the 2020 cycle. "Fast forward to fall of 2020, and you will once again see campaigns litigated on pre-existing conditions, healthcare costs and drug costs, because Republicans have only made the problem worse for themselves since 2018," Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson said in the Axios story.