In recent weeks, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been stepping up its campaign against health care reform, running ads in seven states fear-mongering that the public option will increase individual costs and threaten the system of employer-sponsored coverage. It has even been “collecting money to finance an economic study that could be used to portray the legislation as a job killer and threat to the nation’s economy.”
But on Thursday, Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, came out and endorsed the Senate health care legislation. CEO Brian Roberts sent a letter to President Obama saying that the “enactment of comprehensive health care reform legislation is, in my judgment, critical to putting this country on a path of sustained growth and prosperity.”
Later that day, a small group of bloggers met with Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen, who discussed how important the company believes health care reform is to reinvigorating the economy. A Comcast spokesperson confirmed to ThinkProgress that the company is an annual contributor to the Chamber, but not a member of the board of directors. It is also active on a number of working groups, such as Technology and Regulatory Affairs, and a supporter of a recent broadband study commissioned by the Chamber. At the meeting, Cohen made a specific point of noting that Comcast is not involved in the Chamber’s controversial anti-climate change legislation lobbying.
However, when we asked Cohen about what the Chamber is doing on health care, he said that Comcast clearly disagrees. But Cohen gave no indication that the company was thinking of discontinuing its dues, stating that the members and national organization are bound to have disagreements:
We’re entitled to have our own opinion, and I think it’s impossible for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to only take positions that 100 percent of its members agree with 100 percent of the time. … But we clearly don’t agree on health care. There may be other things we agree on, but on health care, we clearly don’t agree. [...]
You just can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the very good. Nobody wrote that you have to solve this problem in one piece of legislation at one time.
The Chamber of Commerce did not respond to ThinkProgress’ requests for comment.