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THE TRUTH: SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS HAVE LAUNCHED A MISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN BASED ON SCARE TACTICS AND MISTRUTHS.


Insurance companies, special interests, and conservative organizations have poured record amounts of money into lobbying efforts so far this year in an attempt to influence health insurance reform. [1] They've launched a widespread advertising campaign riddled with misleading claims and outright errors. [2]


One group, Conservatives for Patients' Rights, has continually aired ads with false claims arguing against health insurance reform. [3] [4] Another, Family Research Council, has attacked provisions that don’t actually appear in any of the health care measures.” [5]


These groups are spending millions of dollars to preserve a status quo that works for them, but not for the American people.




SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT:

[1] “If there is any doubt that President Barack Obama’s plan to overhaul U.S. health care is the hottest topic in Congress, just ask the 3,300 lobbyists who have lined up to work on the issue. That’s six lobbyists for each of the 535 members of the House and Senate, according to Senate records, and three times the number of people registered to lobby on defense. More than 1,500 organizations have health-care lobbyists, and about three more are signing up each day. Every one of the 10 biggest lobbying firms by revenue is involved in an effort that could affect 17 percent of the U.S. economy. These groups spent $263.4 million on lobbying during the first six months of 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group, more than any other industry. They spent $241.4 million during the same period of 2008. Drugmakers alone spent $134.5 million, 64 percent more than the next biggest spenders, oil and gas companies.” [Bloomberg, 8/14/09]


[2] “In an ad airing (for the third time this year) on national cable channels, a group called Patients United Now says that ‘Washington wants to bring Canadian-style health care to the U.S.’ The group’s back-up for the claim? An opinion piece that we previously found to be riddled with errors...” [FactCheck.org, 8/10/09]


[3] “We’ve written about two previous misleading ads from the group Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, whose TV spots argue against health care overhaul efforts that are moving through Congress. This ad puts forth a new claim, saying that ‘new rules could hike your health insurance premiums 95 percent.’ That’s a startling statement. But it’s contradicted by other experts that find premiums would actually go down under the leading proposals in Congress.” [FactCheck.org, 8/3/09]


[4] “A new ad from Conservatives for Patients’ Rights says that a public health insurance plan now being proposed in Congress ‘could crush all your other choices, driving them out of existence, resulting in 119 million off their current insurance coverage.’ That's misleading. The 119 million figure comes from an analysis of a plan that would mirror Medicare and be open to every individual and business that wanted it. But that's not the type of public plan President Obama has proposed. Nor is such a plan gaining acceptance on Capitol Hill.” [FactCheck.org, 6/11/09]


[5] “An anti-abortion group’s TV ad shows a white-haired man fretting that under a federal health plan, ‘They won’t pay for my surgery, but we’re forced to pay for abortions.’...In fact, none of the health care overhaul measures that have made it through the committee level in Congress say that abortion will be covered, and one of them explicitly says that no public funds will be used to finance the procedure. Furthermore, none of the bills call explicitly for cuts in Medicare coverage, much less rationing, under a public plan.” [FactCheck.org, 8/3/09]

Club for Growth's health care ad campaign is misleading

“...the ad's main point about cost limits is incorrect. There is no such practice in the comparative effectiveness program, nor is it part of the current health reform proposals pending in Congress.” [PolitiFact, 8/6/09]


Lobbyists spend millions to influence health care

“...data so far suggest that the second quarter has a good chance of reaching a new high for the health-care lobby. The industry already set records from January to March, when health-care firms and their lobbyists spent money at the rate of $1.4 million a day.” [ The Washington Post, 7/29/09]


Health insurance industry spins data in fight against public plan

“Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), invoked the statistic to argue against the creation of a government-run insurance option. But the polls are not that simple, and her assertion reveals how the industry's effort to defend its turf has led it to cherry-pick the facts. The poll Ignagni was citing actually undercuts her position: By 72 to 20 percent, Americans favor the creation of a public plan, the June survey by the New York Times and CBS News found.” [ The Washington Post, 7/22/09]


More health care scare

“A new ad from Conservatives for Patients’ Rights... falsely cites the New York Times as the source of a statement that what’s being proposed would leave no consumer choices and ‘government in control of your health care.’ The Times didn’t say that at all.” [FactCheck.org, 6/11/09]

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