Obamacare Allies Embark on ‘AstroTurf’ Campaign

Published June 8, 2010

On Tuesday, allies of the White House announced an unprecedented $125 million campaign to promote the health care reform bill President Barack Obama signed this spring. Andrew Grossman, founder of the advocacy group Wal-Mart Watch, will serve as president of the Health Information Center, which will count among its staff former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn; Erik Smith, head of Blue Engine Message and Media; and Sheila O’Connell, longtime political director of EMILY’s List.

According to the announcement, the Health Information Center will spend $25 million a year over the next five years to “educate” America about the new law. Polls show some 60 percent of the public still opposes the health care overhaul months after it passed. Said Grossman: “When somebody attacks health care reform or uses health reform against a politician, there’s got to be an answer back.”

Peter Fotos, director of government relations for The Heartland Institute, and Ben Domenech, managing editor of Health Care News, offered the following comments about the initiative. You may quote from their remarks here or contact them directly for further information.
“This seems to be a political hatchet job where Washington insiders will dictate what they think is best for the American people. Not too dissimilar from when the White House launched [email protected] as a way to silence critics, President Obama has teamed up with labor unions and liberal elites to continue to sell a false bill of goods that the American people do not want and cannot afford. President Obama knows his new law will not curb skyrocketing health care premiums, it will not provide better care, and it will not lower the deficit, so he has decided to flex his muscles the only way he knows how – with Chicago-style brutality backed by $125 million.”

Peter Fotos
Director, Government Relations
The Heartland Institute
703/624-5129 (cell)
[email protected]

“As the American people learn the truth about President Obama’s new health care regime, poll after poll shows they don’t like it. They see that Obama’s law will raise costs, not lower them; raise the deficit, not lower it; and millions will lose the health plans they enjoy, even though the president promised they could keep them. So now his cronies are stepping in, embarking on a massive national re-education campaign supplementing the White House’s efforts. Run by lobbyists and campaign staffers, and fueled with millions of dollars from special-interest groups and union bosses, they’re going to be spending $125 million over the next five years in advertising and astroturf to try and sell the American people on a big lie. To which I say: Good luck. It’s going to take a lot more than that to hide the truth.”

Ben Domenech
Managing Editor, Health Care News
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 26-year-old free-market think tank based in Chicago. For further information, contact Jim Lakely at [email protected], or Tammy Nash at [email protected], or call 312/377-4000.