On Saturday, The Indianapolis Star exposed that Indy-based health insurance firm Wellpoint has been covertly funding the U.S. Chamber of Commerce attack ads against health care reform. Add this to Wellpoint’s duplicities on the health care issue. Remember this:
From Saturday’s Star:
Indianapolis-based WellPoint and other large health insurers began contributing millions of dollars last summer toward TV ads attacking health-care reforms being debated in Congress, according to a report this week from the political publication National Journal.
The funds were solicited by America’s Health Insurance Plans — a trade organization that includes WellPoint and other large insurers — and passed on to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the publication said.
The Chamber ads came during a time of intense debate over health-care reform. Throughout much of the debate, WellPoint said it advocated effective health-care reform. Although the industry has steadfastly opposed the creation of a government-run public option, health insurers had not publicly gone on the attack as they had in the 1990s with the famous “Harry and Louise ” TV ads warning of a government takeover of care.
Essentially, Wellpoint has been spending millions to derail health care reform while trying to avoid the public relations battle insurance companies faced in the 1990’s when their names were linked to outrageous attack ads.
Unsurprisingly, the U.S. Chamber spent a great deal of their advertising budget in Indiana’s Blue Dog districts. Immediately after Congressmen Joe Donnelly, Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill voted yes to the Affordable Health Care for America Act, the Chamber spent more than $600,000 to attack reform in their districts.
We haven’t been able to find a piece we saw a couple weeks back that listed Indiana as one of the top-ten states for health-care reform related television advertising spending, but at least now we know what has driven it.
Seriously, if one of you knows that story, send it along.