Lobbyist targets Hoosiers with misleading healthcare ads
Earlier today, I caught a horrendous anti-healthcare reform ad, targeted at Hoosiers, on the radio. Everything in the ad was either factually wrong or dangerously misleading, so I listened closely for the supplier of this misinformation campaign. As it turns out, it was the Employment Policies Institute, one of many front groups set up by the pro-drunk driving, pro-mercury in fish, pro-smoking lobbyist Rick Berman. (You may recall seeing him recently on The Rachel Maddow Show or a couple of years ago on The Colbert Report.)
This radio spot is part of a new push by the Employment Policies Institute to support their “Rethink Reform” website – while there’s no mention of these radio ads in their releases, they are promoting their Fox News commercial and print ads. Mr. Berman has recently published several guest columns in papers around the country, including this one in the Times of Northwest Indiana:
But calls to force all employers to pay for health insurance are misguided: not every company has a profit margin that can afford to pay those costs. A payment mandate would often cause more unemployment (increasing the number of uninsured).
Mr. Berman neglects to point out that the only support for this notion comes from a highly criticized study his front group pushed out over the summer. The rest of his piece is more of the same obfuscation and lies that we heard all summer from other lobbyists and front groups.
The radio ad specifically claims that the healthcare reforms being considered would raise rates on Hoosier families, encourage businesses to dump their employees’ health coverage, and slash Medicare benefits. Each of these is just blatantly wrong.
- The non-partisan CBO studies have shown that the House-passed plan would significantly lower premiums from their projected rates by 2016.
- The award-winning FactCheck.org says that there’s little (if any) evidence to support the idea that employers will drop insurance, or the claim about increased unemployment that Mr. Berman makes in his NWI Times column.
- FactCheck.org says that there would be no cuts to Medicare benefits. And despite the conservative spin, the recent CMS report shows that the House bill actually extends Medicare’s solvency period by 5 years.
Media Matters has a great takedown of what the coordinated TV spot gets wrong – but I think the fact that they’re only running the ad on Fox News says all you need to know about its credibility.