Health Insurers Secretly Funded Attack Ads While Claiming to “Strongly Support Reform”

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Health insurers secretly funded attack ads aimed at killing or gutting health care reform even as they publicly claimed to support strong action in Congress, the National Journal reports today.

Since last summer, six of the nation’s biggest health insurers have funneled up to $20 million to the US Chamber of Commerce to fund ads critical of leading Democratic reforms, according to an anonymous lobbyist quoted by the Journal. The money was solicited by the Association of Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s main trade group. The lobbyist said the industry wanted to avoid the political flak that it drew when it aired its famous “Harry and Louise” ads that helped derail Bill Clinton’s health reform plans more than a decade ago.

The revelation paints insurers in a duplicitious light. In October, when AHIP was already funneling attack money to the Chamber, its president, Karen Ingani, penned a letter to the Washington Post claiming that “health plans contine to strongly support reform.” Just not the reform being debated in Congress, it now seems.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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