Orchestrated Protests and Misinformation Against Health Insurance Reform

Rolling Stone features a story on The Lie Machine which shows how the insurance industry and Republicans worked to spread misinformation, and get right wingers out protesting, in an attempt to block health care reform. From the story:

According to internal documents obtained by Rolling Stone, Conservatives for Patients’ Rights had been working closely for weeks as a “coalition partner” with three other right-wing groups in a plot to unleash irate mobs at town-hall meetings just like Doggett’s. Far from representing a spontaneous upwelling of populist rage, the protests were tightly orchestrated from the top down by corporate-funded front groups as well as top lobbyists for the health care industry. Call it the return of the Karl Rove playbook: The effort to mobilize the angriest fringe of the Republican base was guided by a conservative dream team that included the same GOP henchmen who Swift-boated John Kerry in 2004, smeared John McCain in 2000, wrote the script for Republican obstructionism on global warming, and harpooned the health care reform effort led by Hillary Clinton in 1993.

“The insurance industry is up to the same dirty tricks, using the same devious PR practices it has used for many years, to kill reform,” says Wendell Potter, who stepped down last year as chief of corporate communications for health insurance giant CIGNA. “I’m certain that people showing up at these town halls feel that they’re there on their own — but they don’t realize they’re being incited, ultimately, by the insurance industry and the other special interests.”

Behind the scenes, top Republicans — including House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Minority Leader John Boehner and the chairman of the GOP’s Senate steering committee, Jim DeMint — worked hand-in-glove with the organizers of the town brawls. Their goal was not only to block health care reform but to bankrupt President Obama’s political capital before he could move on to other key items on his agenda, including curbing climate change and expanding labor rights. As DeMint told an August teleconference of nearly 20,000 town-hall activists, “If we can stop him on this, the administration won’t be able to go on to cap and trade, card check and the other things they want to do.”

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11 Comments

  1. 1
    Health Care Reformer says:

    » Orchestrated Protests and Misinformation Against Health … http://bit.ly/xpZWS

  2. 2
    Reform Health Care! says:

    » Orchestrated Protests and Misinformation Against Health … http://bit.ly/xpZWS

  3. 3
    Eclectic Radical says:

    I realize this is a bit off-topic, Ron, but I could not refrain from asking. I apologize for any thread-hijacking. I’m losing some patience with Blogger’s inability to register trackbacks and find this may be limiting me somewhat. I like your set-up very much and was curious how your blog is supported? I am seriously considering a switch from Blogger.
     

  4. 4
    Leslie Parsley says:

    I just heard on NPR this morning that Kaiser and several other groups have a study which shows most Americans want public option and don’t feel they are being represent by their Congressmen. If this is true, and I hope it is, it verifies what I’ve been thinking ever since these loud obnoxious protesters started protesting – that they are a very tiny minority. I’m hoping their reps will be voted out by the majority – the ones who voted for Obama.

  5. 5
    Leslie Parsley says:

    That should be “have done a study.”

  6. 6
    Captin Sarcastic says:

    The public option polls mirror the position of the AMA relative to the position of AMA members. Doctors favor the inclusion of a public option by as much as 70/30 (or as little as 52/48), yet the AMA is not supporting the inclusion of a public option, and has even been quoted by the NYT as opposing a public option.

    The public option is the lynchpin to afforable health insurance, a method to essentially keep the private insurers honest. It is also the element that the industry is most effectively opposing, even in the face of asupport by asignificant majority of Americans, including doctors and nurses.

    I believe that this popular support will give the President cover to either pursue reconciliation, or, a better option in my opinion, Executive Order. If the major reform elements, sans the public option, are passed by Congress, the President could create the public insurance exchange with the strok of a pen using the EO. It’s not unprecendented, as FDR created the Rural Electrification Administration using an Executive Order 7037 in 1935.

    The key is that the public really doesn’t need subsidies or any significant dollars to operate, at least not relative to federal budgets. The subsidies are already in all of the proposals, but are not specific in whom the subsidies are paid to. In the current proposals, without the public option, the subsidies would be credited to taxpayers, but ultimately paid to private insurers. A nice boondoggle for the industry. But since the subsidies go to taxpayers, not directly to insurers, there EO created public exchange would be on a level playing field with private insurers and could provide the competition needed to prevent private insurers from continuing to gouge so many Americans.

  7. 7
    Mike says:

    In what media accounts are casting as a serious setback for President Barack Obama and lawmakers who back the “public option,” the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday voted against including the provision in the bill. Reports also remark on GOP unity against the provision, which they compare to the Democratic split apparent in Tuesday’s committee votes.  Where I am a health insurance agent with http://www.benefitsmanager.net/SelectHealth.html .  I find this frustrating somewhat. I don’t agree with the design of the “public option” where it works against a health system in place now and causes a financial burden on tax payers.  But, I think we need one out there.  I need the ability to get my clients a insurance policy that won’t decline them for pre-existing medical conditions.  See Utah’s response to health care reform and health insurance reform.  http://www.prweb.com/releases/utah_health_insurance/health_care_reform/prweb2614544.htm.
    Perhaps the feds should look at the only second state case attempt for reform as a model. What about TORT reform? That honestly impacts doctor insurance costs as well as health insurance premiums by 13% See study in prior link.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    “I find this frustrating somewhat. I don’t agree with the design of the “public option” where it works against a health system in place now and causes a financial burden on tax payers.”

    The public option would not place any financial burden on tax payers. It would be financed from the premiums of those who choose the plan.

    “What about TORT reform? That honestly impacts doctor insurance costs as well as health insurance premiums by 13% See study in prior link.”

    I’ve previously had a few posts arguing that tort reform should be a part of health care reform as this is a place where we can achieve some savings, but the impact of tort reform is often exaggerated. We should try to achieve any savings we can (and tort reform is worthwhile for reasons beyond saving money) but its impact is not all that tremendous on overall health care costs. It is also likely that even if the system was changed and there was no longer a need to practice defensive medicine, it would take some time for practice habits to change very much and to achieve much of the potential savings.

     

  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:

    Eclectic,

    The blog is done with WordPress. There are basically two options to set up a blog with WordPress. You can set one up at WordPress.com which provides free web hosting as Blogger does. This version has some limitations to it–you might check out some of the blogs there to get a feeling for what it does as whatever I found when I first set things up is probably no longer the case.

    The other way is to  set up the full version of WordPress on with any web host which is set up to handle it. Many are set up to make it easy to install WordPress on their sites. The software is free but you’d have to pay for the web hosting. This varies tremendously. I started out with a relatively inexpensive host (which does this by having more than one site share the same server). I was exceeding the limits and almost had to move the site, but  I  then found that installing caching on the site reduced its strain on the server, allowing me to continue with inexpensive web hosting.

     

  10. 10
    Eclectic Radical says:

    ‘I started out with a relatively inexpensive host (which does this by having more than one site share the same server). I was exceeding the limits and almost had to move the site, but  I  then found that installing caching on the site reduced its strain on the server, allowing me to continue with inexpensive web hosting.’
     
    My major complaint with Blogger is the trackback issue. The free version might be all I really need.
     
    That said, my high-speed package includes site-hosting. I need to talk to my partner and find out from her just what the parameters of said hosting is.
     
    Even if I stick with what I have in for the forseeable future, I really appreciate the info! 🙂

  11. 11
    Ron Chusid says:

    Most likely the free hosting does not include easy installation of WordPress. You might still be able to download it yourself and install it, but it might be safer with a paid site which provides some support for WordPress.  As long as you can get by with shared server it will cost less than $100 per year. As I mentioned previously, using caching will greatly reduce your load on the server and increase the chance that this is all you would need.

    Deciding upon a free version is more a matter of features as the software isn’t the same. I don’t know if it handles trackbacks any different from the version I use.

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