Abramoff’s Favorite Think Tank Schools Tea Partiers on Health Care

Flickr/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewaliferis/3917886390/">andrewaliferis</a> (<a href="http://www.creativecommons.org">Creative Commons</a>).

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


On Tuesday, tea partiers and other activists who came to Capitol Hill to protest the health care bill were armed with the usual array of signs demanding that Congress “Kill the Bill,” comparing Obamacare to socialism and the usual rhetoric. But many of them were also toting a slick, hefty tome called, “Shattered Lives: 100 Victims of Government Health Care” that was being distributed at the rallies by the National Center for Public Policy Research. The report features an introduction by talk show host Mark Levin, the author of Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, and is essentially a compilation of media health care horror stories–everywhere but in the U.S., which, of course, could provide tomes worth of material about the failures of the private health care system.

The “Shattered Lives” stories come from Great Britain, Japan, Russia and South Africa, and read together, they do offer up some pretty horrible details about national health care. There’s the British six-year-old whose brain tumor went undiagnosed for years because the National Health Service insisted in giving him painkillers for his headaches but not a brain scan. There’s one about the guy who ended up pulling his own tooth with a rusty pair of plyers because he couldn’t find a dentist.

It’s a gripping read, and the production values suggest that someone put up a big chunk of money to produce and distribute it to tea party activists far and wide. (Rally participants on Tuesday got free bound copies that cost $14.95 on Amazon.) There’s reason to be suspicious. After all, NCPPR isn’t just any public policy group. You might recall that not only has it done stealth research for tobacco companies, but it was also one of the nonprofit groups accused of helping the disgraced uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff pimp his clients in exchange for big donations. The report doesn’t say who paid for the work, but it has all the hallmarks of the usual corporate suspects. 

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.