Insurance Companies Blanket Airwaves With Misleading Ads

March 11, 2010 4:01 pm ET — Melinda Warner

Media Matters Action Network, SEIU, and Progressive Media worked together to further expose how the insurance industry has teamed up with the Chamber of Commerce to try and block health care reform.

In a last ditch effort to fight against health care reform, private insurance companies are funneling millions of dollars through the Chamber of Commerce  to air yet another misleading ad in seventeen states.

To further obfuscate the money trail, the Chamber produces their anti-reform ads under the name "Employers for a Healthy Economy."  This newest ad, titled "Afford," paints Democratic health care reform proposals as costing too much for American families - all the while ignoring the fact that the reform legislation will support American families and businesses.  The insurance industry stands to gain the most if reform fails - a fact they are desperate to hide from the American public.

The Chamber of Commerce has been the willing vehicle through which AHIP has funneled money and misinformation to the American public.  Reports say up to $20 million has gone from the insurance industry directly to Chamber coffers - although it is impossible to know the exact figure.  Both organizations have failed to provide any semblance of transparency regarding their finances, and so are keeping the American public ignorant of their anti-reform activity.

The Chamber & Insurance Companies have teamed up to block health care reform.  

  • Millions of dollars have flowed to the Chamber from Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Kaiser Foundation Health Plans, UnitedHealth Group, and Wellpoint - companies that saw profits increase 56% in 2009 and have raised premiums for American families even higher
  • $144 million spent to lobby Congress, including efforts to fight health care reform
  • Between $70 and $100 million on anti-reform advertising
  • Numerous misleading or false ads about the possible outcomes of health care reform
  • Openly "collecting money to finance an economic study that could be used to portray the legislation as a job killer"

The Chamber has also proven itself to hold profits above people in its position on various policy issues.

  • Opposed the expansion of SCHIP, thereby opposing providing millions of American children with health insurance.
  • Opposed efforts to provide American workers - some without any sick leave - paid time off in the event they contracted H1N1 (swine flu).

For additional information on the Chamber of Commerce, visit the following organizations:

Think Progress
Media Matters Action Network