NU Online News Service, Oct. 7, 2004, 4:47 p.m. EDT

The biggest health insurance trade group has stepped up its information lobbying efforts.[@@]

America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington, reports that it is trying to shape the 2 remaining presidential debates by placing ads discussing health reform in Roll Call, a Washington newspaper, and in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Arizona Republic.

The Post-Dispatch is the paper of record in St. Louis, the site of the second scheduled presidential debate, and the Republic is the paper of record in Tempe, Ariz., the site of the third scheduled presidential debate.

AHIP also has been trying to spread its views on health care reform through advertising campaigns and other communications efforts in swing states such as Ohio.

In related news, AHIP says it has hired Jeff Lemieux to be an AHIP senior vice president and director of AHIP’s new Center for Health Policy Research.

Lemieux previously was executive director of Centrists.org, Washington, a policy think tank that he founded.

Lemieux has been the staff economist for the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare, which was co-chaired by Sen. John Breaux, D-La., and Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Calif. He also served as the principal analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. While at the CBO, he estimated the cost of national health reform and Medicare system reform plans.