Industry Cash-Roots Have Turned Health Reform into Taxpayer Ripoff

The Los Angeles Times reports that the health insurance industry has "rallied its lobbying and grassroots resources so successfully in the early stages of the healthcare overhaul deliberations that it is poised to reap a financial windfall. The half-dozen leading overhaul proposals circulating in Congress would require all citizens to have health insurance, which would guarantee insurers tens of millions of new customers -- many of whom would get government subsidies to help pay the companies' premiums." CMD's Sheldon Rampton noted last December that the 1993 Clinton reform effort failed "after it encountered a concerted (corporate) grassroots campaign led by the healthcare and insurance industries, using front groups such as the Coalition for Health Insurance Choices. ... To defeat the Clinton health plan, Robert Hoopes acted as 'grassroots coordinator political education specialist' for the Independent Insurance Agents of America. Speaking at a PR conference after the plan had been defeated, he explained how they did it: 'We had time to gin up the grassroots, mail our letters, educate our membership, have town hall meetings; I could travel all over the country and get my members excited about it. When it came time for a vote we were ready.'" CMD has been reporting on the hidden power of corporate grassroots since our inception sixteen years ago, and particularly about its defeat of health care reform in our 1995 book Toxic Sludge Is Good for You.