Health Insurers Mobilize 50,000 Employees to Defeat Public Option

The LA Times reports that health insurance companies, on the cusp of defeating the threat of a public option and after winning a set of important legislative health reform battles, is "poised to reap a financial windfall" for their efforts. Big insurance companies have outflanked proponents of reform with a flood of lobbyists, advertising, campaign donations, and, it appears, a well-organized strategy of coordinating their employees to contact lawmakers:

-- AHIP, the lobbying juggernaut representing the industry, says 50,000 employees have been engaged in writing letters and making phone calls to politicians or attending town hall meetings.

-- UnitedHealth, one of the largest insurers, organized a hot-line for employees to be directed to protests and town hall meetings. In Ohio, the number directed people to attend a radical tea party protest, sponsored by religious fundamentalist Dave Daubenmire, outside the office of Rep. Zach Space (D-OH).

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