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Harry and Louise are back, this time for healthcare reform

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON —Remember Harry and Louise, that iconic fictional couple who helped derail the Clinton administration’s attempt to reform the healthcare system and expand coverage to all Americans? They’re back. And this time, in an election-year bit of irony, they’re speaking for fundamental reform of the healthcare system, instead of against it.

A coalition of five diverse advocacy groups revived the advertising theme with a new, multimillion-dollar ad campaign that aired on national TV throughout the Democratic and Republican national conventions. The goal, backers said, is a major overhaul of the healthcare system.

“In light of ever-increasing healthcare costs and increasing numbers of people without health insurance coverage, Harry and Louise will urge the next president and Congress to put health care at the top of the domestic agenda,” the group noted in a statement.

In 1993 and 1994, opponents of government-sponsored, universal healthcare coverage aired a series of TV spots featuring the characters Harry and Louise in a successful campaign to defeat proposals by the Clinton White House for broader healthcare coverage and a larger government role in the healthcare system. The ads proved a highly effective tool in that campaign by raising alarms among millions of tax-payers about the costs and effectiveness of government-sponsored health care.

The new campaign’s backers are hoping Harry and Louise can be just as effective in pushing for change. Five national organizations are behind the spots: the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Hospital Association, the Catholic Health Association, Families USA and the National Federation of Independent Business.

Noted Todd Stottlemyer, president and chief executive officer of NFIB, “Our nation’s job creators—the small-business owners and mom-and-pop stores in our communities—are struggling with unsustainable and ever-increasing healthcare costs.”

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Winn-Dixie completes 100th store remodel

BY Michael Johnsen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Less than 18 months after announcing a major remodel initiative for all of its 521 stores, Winn-Dixie Stores, on Thursday announced the completion of remodel No. 100.

The newest remodeled store, in the Miami suburb of Hialeah, is celebrating its grand opening today.

The Hialeah store showcases the company’s fresh and local strategic initiative—an updated storefront, combined with expanded produce and floral departments. The store’s deli and bakery were upgraded with a wood-burning rotisserie and bread warmer, a wing bar, an olive bar and a specialty dessert case. The store also features new energy-efficient refrigerators and frozen food cases as well as new wood flooring and a contemporary color palette.

“This is not only a milestone for our Company, but it also symbolizes the hard work and dedication of our associates and the loyalty of our customers,” stated Peter Lynch, Winn-Dixie’s chairman, chief executive officer and president. “It’s all about being fresh and local—from our decor to our merchandising and marketing initiatives, we are tailoring every detail of our remodeled stores to meet the needs of neighborhoods we serve. As the remodel program moves forward, we will have a significantly stronger store base from which to compete and leverage the strength of our brand. We plan to remodel half the chain by June 2010.”

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Longs to carry GE digital cameras

BY Michael Johnsen

TORRANCE, Calif. Already distributed through Walgreens, General Imaging, the worldwide exclusive licensee for GE digital cameras, may be getting a foot in the door with CVS with Thursday’s announcement that its retail camera line is to be picked up by Longs Drug beginning in October.

Under the agreement, Longs stores will stock three models—the A730 Black, the A835 Black and the A1030 Red.

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