Harry and Louise, the fictional TV couple that helped foster doubts about Bill Clinton's big-government health care back in 1993, are now on the Obama health-care bandwagon, gushed reporter Natasha Singer in "Harry and Louise Return, With a New Message."
Harry and Louise have changed their minds about health care reform.
The fictional suburban couple featured in a series of national television spots sponsored by the health insurance industry in 1993 and 1994 stoked fears that helped doom a government-created health plan promoted by a Democratic president, Bill Clinton.
"Having choices we don't like is no choice at all," the Louise character fretted to her husband in one spot set around a kitchen table stacked with medical bills.
Now, the same actors are back in a new campaign, this time to support a government overhaul of the medical system promoted by a Democratic president, Barack Obama.
The ad's sponsors - a trade group representing drug makers and Families USA, a nonprofit group advocating affordable medical care - reflect the strange bedfellows lining up behind the latest reform effort.
"A little more cooperation, a little less politics," Louise says to Harry in the new spot, scheduled to appear on cable and network stations this weekend, "and we can get the job done this time."
The main issues - accessible, affordable and portable medical coverage - have not changed since the 1990s. But the reappearance of Harry and Louise as the avatars of health care reform dovetails with a new economic reality for consumers.
Singer failed to label Families USA as a left-wing organization, although it has long clamored for Canadian-style socialized medicine. Besides portraying Obama-style health "reform" as inevitable, Singer, as liberals are often wont to do, conflated big-government liberalism with personal compassion:
The early-middle-aged Harry and Louise in the 1990s ads were concerned about their own welfare and their own pocketbooks. They were white middle-class me-generation professionals scripted to raise red flags about the fear of losing private health insurance. Now, the mellowed AARP-eligible Harry and Louise of this campaign seem more charitable and outward-directed. They even invoke the plight of the uninsured.