'Harry And Louise' Now Back Health Care Overhaul

Harry and Louise, the couple who appeared in the ad that helped sink President Clinton's heath care ambitions, are back with a new ad — supporting President Obama's industry overhaul. The actors joined several Democratic senators on Capitol Hill Thursday to mark the passage of a health bill from the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Today, Senate Democrats held a news conference to mark the passage, in committee, of a national health care overhaul. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa explained that several things have changed since President Clinton tried and failed to pass a bill.

Senator TOM HARKIN (Democrat, Iowa): And this time, we have most of corporate America with us. The insurance industry wants reform. Heck - even Harry and Louise are demanding reforms.

(Soundbite of laughter)

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Harry and Louise are the fictitious couple who appeared in more than a dozen TV ads sponsored by the Health Insurance Association of America back in 1993. The ominous ads helped sink the Clinton plan.

(Soundbite of TV commercial)

Unidentified Man: Things are changing and not all for the better. The government may force us to pick from a few health care plans designed by government bureaucrats.

Ms. LOUISE CARA CLARK (Actor): (as Louise) Having choices we don't like is no choice at all.

Mr. HARRY JOHNSON (Actor): (as Harry) If they choose…

Ms. CLARK: (as Louise) …we lose.

BRAND: Harry and Louise have had a recurring role in the nation's health care debate. Their most recent effort airing this week sends a very different message from 15 years ago.

(Soundbite of TV commercial)

Ms. CLARK: (as Louise) We need good coverage people can afford. Coverage they can get.

Mr. JOHNSON: (as Harry): Even if they have a pre-existing condition.

Ms. CLARK: (as Louise) And coverage they can keep if they change jobs.

Mr. JOHNSON: (as Harry) Or lose their jobs. Sounds simple enough.

Ms. CLARK: (as Louise) A little more cooperation, a little less politics and we can get the job done this time.

SIEGEL: Harry and Louise, the actors Harry Johnson, and Louise Cara Clark were also at today's news conference. Clark said they were thrilled to be there and the Democrats were equally thrilled to have them.

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