CPR's New Ad Bulldozes The Truth

June 04, 2009 12:39 pm ET

On June 4, 2009, Rick Scott's group Conservatives for Patients Rights posted a new ad titled "Bulldozer."  The ad portrays the government as a bulldozer, crushing Americans' health care choices.  But of course, since it is CPR, the ad is full of distortions and false statements.

CPR's $1.2 Million Ad Campaign To Run On Fox And CNN.  According to Roll Call, Conservatives for Patients Rights launched "a $1.2 million television advertising campaign slated to run through the July 4 recess. The 30-second spot, set to run on Fox News Channel and CNN...features video of a bulldozer crushing written text that reads: 'HEALTH CARE CHOICE.'" [Roll Call, 6/4/09]

SEIU's Change That Works Health Care Campaign has produced a detailed rebuttal to "Bulldozer;" MMAN has posted it below.

CPR Wants Viewers To Believe That The Health Insurance Market Is Large And Varied

FALSE CLAIM: "There are hundreds of choices of health care plans today..." [Conservatives for Patients' Rights "Bulldozer" Ad, 6/4/09]

FACT: Only A Few Insurance Companies Dominate The Market, Leaving Americans With Limited Choices In Health Care. According to the American Medical Association, 94 percent of United States health care markets are considered highly concentrated, meaning that one company or a small group of companies control a great deal of the market. [American Medical Association, "Competition in Health Insurance," 2008 Update]

Additionally, Insurance Companies Can Deny Coverage For Many Reasons:

  • BCBS Retroactively Cancelled Plan After Six-Year-Old's Tumor Surgery.  According to the Los Angeles Times, "when Steve and Leslie Shaeffer's daughter, Selah, was diagnosed at age 4 with a potentially fatal tumor in her jaw, they figured their health insurance would cover the bulk of her treatment costs...Shortly after Selah's medical bills hit $20,000, Blue Cross stopped covering them and eventually canceled her coverage retroactively, refusing to pay for treatment, including surgery the insurer had authorized in advance." [Los Angeles Times, 9/17/06]
  • After Caesarean Section, Company Told Woman She Would Be Insurable If She Had Been Sterilized. The New York Times reported on a woman who was turned down for private health insurance because her first child was delivered via caesarean section: "Having the operation once increases the odds that it will be performed again, and if she became pregnant and needed another Caesarean, [the insurance company] did not want to pay for it. A letter from the company explained that if she had been sterilized after the Caesarean, or if she were over 40 and had given birth two or more years before applying, she might have qualified." [New York Times, 6/1/08]
  • Common Diseases And Conditions Are Often Reasons For Coverage Denial.  The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune reported, "in Minnesota, the most common reasons for denial are obesity, mental health conditions, hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But there are less well-known reasons insurers consider on a case-by-case basis: chemical dependency, allergies that require costly injectable drugs, a previous C-section, previous use of infertility medicine or something as simple as being pregnant." [Star Tribune, 1/10/09]

CPR Wants Viewers To Believe The Government Will Take Away American's Choices

FALSE CLAIM: "This government-run plan could crush all your other choices, driving them out of existence..." [Conservatives for Patients' Rights "Bulldozer" Ad, 6/4/09]

FACT: Public Plan Will Only Drive Out Inefficient Private Plans, Leaving Consumers With Greater Choices And Better Care Options. According to Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) chairman Glenn Hackbarth's comments on National Journal's health care blog, "some private plans will not survive this competition - namely, plans that do little more than offer free-choice of provider, fee-for-service coverage.  We don't need those plans; a public plan can do that better." [National Journal's Health Care Blog, 12/8/08]

FACT: Private Plans That Offer Lower-Cost Options And More Comprehensive Plans Will Be Able To Compete. According to the Urban Institute: "Private plans that offer better services and greater access to providers, even at a somewhat higher cost than the public plans, would survive the competition in this environment.  It is also conceivable that private plans offering a lower-cost option - for example, lower premiums than the public plan, say by exploiting care management innovations, and network and payment rate limitations - could stake out a separate niche in some markets." [Urban Institute, 3/18/09]

FACT: Many States Run Public And Private Plans Alongside Each Other Successfully. According to the Center for American Progress: "Today, state governments (all of which regulate insurance companies) operate public Medicaid programs, purchase insurance for thousands of public employees, and regulate insurers. In fact, many states successfully offer their employees and retirees private health insurance plans side-by-side with these states' self-funded health insurance plans." [Center for American Progress, March 2009]

CPR Wants Viewers To Believe The Government Will Remove Coverage For 119 Million Americans

FALSE CLAIM: "Government-run plan" will force "119 million off their current insurance coverage, leaving no choices in health insurance and government in control of your health care." [Conservatives for Patients' Rights "Bulldozer" Ad, 6/4/09]

FACT: CBO Director: Lewin Study Claims Are Overstated. According to National Journal's Congress Daily: "CBO Director Elmendorf told Senate Finance Committee members and staffers he expects fewer Americans would migrate from private health insurance to a public plan than projected by the oft-quoted study by nonpartisan policy experts at the Lewin Group."  [National Journal's CongressDaily, 5/20/2009]

FACT: Lewin Group Is Mouthpiece For Insurance Industry. The Lewin Group was "acquired" by Ingenix in 2007, according to the Ingenix website.  Ingenix is "a leading health information technology company."  According to the New York Times, INgenix is the "database business" of UnitedHealth Group. [Ingenix.com, 6/12/07; New York Times, 3/31/08]

  • New York State Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo: Ingenix Is "A Conduit For Rigged Data To The Largest Insurers In The Country." In February 2008, Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Attorney General, announced his "industry-wide investigation into a scheme by health insurers to defraud consumers by manipulating reimbursement rates." Cuomo's release named Ingenix as the center of the scheme" referring to it as "the nation's largest provider of healthcare billing information," and "a conduit for rigged data to the largest insurers in the country." [New York State Office of the Attorney General, 2/13/08]

CPR Wants Viewers To Support Maintaining The Failed Status Quo

Rick Scott in "Bulldozer": "It's not too late.  Protect your health care choices.  Tell Congress to say 'no' to a government-run plan." [Conservatives for Patients' Rights "Bulldozer" Ad, 6/4/09]

FACT: Scott Has Made His Fortune Off Our Broken Health Care System.

Scott Received Nearly $10 Million In Severance And A 5 Year Contract With Columbia/HCA Following Resignation.  Modern Healthcare reported that Richard L. Scott's "$9.9 million severance included a five-year consulting contract with HCA." [Modern Healthcare, 7/11/05]

  • Scott's 5 Year Consulting Contract Paid $950,000 Every Year. According to the New York Times: "The Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corporation said yesterday that it had agreed to pay its former chairman and chief executive nearly $10 million when he was forced out in July in the wake of an unfolding criminal investigation of the company. The agreement with the executive, Richard L. Scott, provided for a one-time payment of $5.13 million, as well as a five-year annual consulting fee of $950,000, for a total of $9.88 million, according to a copy of a severance agreement included in the company's quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission." [New York Times, 11/14/97]

Scott's Severance Package Included $300 Million In Stocks.  According to the Florida Times-Union, Richard L. Scott left Columbia/HCA "with a $10 million severance package and 10 million shares of stock valued at more than $300 million." [Florida Times-Union, 6/21/06]