Kentucky Woman
Madison's Avenue
Dead Air
Business to Kill For


     Madison Parker�s ad agency wins the large USMed Healthcare business. USMed will bring total healthcare coverage to all Americans � if congress passes the bill. But powerful people want to kill the bill ... and Madison�s best friend...

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August 2019

     "I don't believe you!" Madison Parker said to her executive assistant, Christine.
     "It's true. A woman woke up with her shirt soaked in blood. She was bleeding from her nipple. Terrified, she rushed to the emergency room where doctors discovered she had a benign tumor. Her health insurance agreed to pay the $3,000 bill. But after the surgery, the insurance company changed its mind - and sent her the bill for the $3,000."
     "That's outrageous!" Madison said. "Why?"
     Her insurance said she should have realized there was no emergency."
     "She was bleeding from her breast for God's sake!"
     "Didn't matter, they said."
     "So bleeding from the breast means she's fine? No problem?" Madison said.
     "I guess."
     Madison couldn't believe it. She'd heard similar horror stories of health insurance companies agreeing to pay their members emergency room bills, then refusing to pay later and sticking the patient with the bill.
     "Please tell me the insurance company wasn't our agency client, HealCare?" Madison said.
     "It's not. It was another national healthcare provider."
     Madison exhaled in relief. As CEO of Turner Advertising, she'd been working on a new campaign for HealCare, her agency's client. HealCare had excellent heart and cancer centers nationwide.
     It also had excellent corporate profits, a necessary and reasonable goal. But not, she felt, when high profits resulted in outrageously high-priced prescriptions and hospital services that more and more American families could not afford.
     Madison looked at her family photo on her desk: her husband, Kevin, their baby daughter, Mia, and her. Their first family photo. Mia was six hours old, sprouting stalks of Kevin's copper-red hair above cobalt-blue eyes.
     Now Mia was two years old, walking around barking orders like General George S. Patton, and spending lots of time with Kevin's mom, whose apartment, thank God, connected directly to their Manhattan apartment. His mom, Kate, was a gift from the child-care gods. She made her and Kevin's lives so much easier with their unpredictable travel schedules.
     Madison's office door opened, and Christine hurried back in.
     "Senator Jonathon Nelson is on line one. Maybe he has news about that advertising assignment for USMed."
     "Too early. The winning agency won't be selected for two months. And we don't have a prayer."
     "Why not?"
     "Our HealCare client conflicts with USMed. And the USMed selection committee will assume we're in favor of maintaining America's present managed healthcare systems. Also, Senator Nelson has an executive friend at a much bigger ad agency."
     "But you're friends with his daughter."
     "Great friends."
     "Only one way to find out what the Senator wants." Christine pointed at Madison's phone.
     Madison crossed her fingers and picked up Senator Nelson's call.
     "Senator, it's nice to hear from you. How are you and your talented daughter, Ellie, my favorite college roommate?"
     "Your only college roommate as I recall."
     "Who else would put up with us?"
     He laughed. "We're both fine, but Ellie's working too hard."
     "She tells me you are too. Is hard work like a Nelson DNA thing?"
     "Defect, maybe. But this call is easy work. Our committee liked your proposal for our national USMed campaign. Your strategy and TV advertising concepts were excellent. We chose three agency finalists."
     And you called to say you're giving the business to a bigger agency? Madison thought.
     "This morning our committee voted and made a final decision."
     Her heart pounded. Despite her impossible chance to win, she�d really love to win this assignment.
     "We decided to go with a non-favored agency."
     Madison sputter-coughed coffee onto her desk and shouted, AWESOME!" as coffee dripped from her nose.
     "The committee liked your agency's campaign a lot, Madison. Congratulations."
     Madison caught her breath. "Thank you very very much, Senator."
     "You guys earned it. But I need to brief you soon. When can we meet?"
     "I'll fly down to Washington tonight."
     "No need to. I'm in Manhattan at the Plaza. Can we meet this evening say around six o'clock in the Rose Club?"
     "See you there."