Since March, Conservatives for Patients Rights (CPR) — headed by disgraced hospital CEO Rick Scott and represented by the same public relations firm that brought us the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth — has been actively distorting the health care reform debate.
While the health industry is trying to remain at the negotiating table, CPR is attacking the reform effort in a somewhat schizophrenic media campaign. The group has linked to progressive health care proposals from its website before running ads arguing that Democrats had no health care plan, conflating the budget resolution with health care reform legislation, and claiming that President Obama seeks to import Britain’s health care system into America.
Now the group that did so much research on Obama’s health care reform that it ended up attacking a non-existent health care proposal is soliciting contributions on the false premise that it scored a major victory over its ideological rival, Health Care For America Now, which has been running ads criticizing the group’s activities.
This morning, Rick Scott sent a letter to subscribers claiming that, “after reviewing HCAN’s ad, Comcast has determined that it is misleading and has been pulled off the air”:
As you may know, the liberal group Health Care for America Now recently started running a mudslinging TV ad against me personally. After reviewing HCAN’s ad, Comcast has determined that it is misleading and has been pulled off the air. …But they were taught a lesson. … Unfortunately, this surely won’t stop HCAN and its allies from continuing their campaign to use any means necessary to achieve government-run healthcare. In fact, HCAN reportedly plans to spend $40 million for big government healthcare. That’s why I need your help. Your contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250, $1000 or more to CPR Education*, our charitable affiliate, will help us to continue to get our message out and fight the misleading tactics of the advocates of government-run healthcare.
The letter came as a surprise to Health Care For America Now, who told me they had purchased a week of ads from May 6 to May 13 and assumed that their ad buy had just expired. The group contacted Comcast, who issued the following clarification: “Comcast has not pulled any ads produced by HCAN off our systems. The media buy for the ad in question expired on May 13.” HCAN has bought more airtime and the ad will soon return to the airwaves,” Jason Rosenbaum of HCAN told me.
So CPR either never contacted Comcast or knowingly misrepresented — in fact, lied about — their statement. Either practice is emblematic of the group’s approach to the health care debate.
Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.