One of the most aggressive industry front groups fighting to defeat health care reform has been the Conservatives for Patients’ Rights (CPR), run by disgraced hospital executive Rick Scott and represented by the same public relations (CRC Public Relations) firm that brought us the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth.
The group’s main target was the public option. CPR fear-mongered that President Obama wanted to bring scary, ineffective, socialized Canadian and British health care to the United States. It ran dishonest public relations campaign, even tricking British and Canadian citizens into appearing in an anti-government-run health care ad. While portraying itself to the public as an honest broker in the health care negotiations with President Obama, the industry was simultaneously pouring massive funds into front groups like CPR to kill reform.
Yesterday, Scott released a statement claiming credit for the defeat of the public option and saying he would be taking a “breather”:
Accordingly, we’re stepping back from the debate and taking a breather. In the meantime, and consistent with our mission, CPR will remain focused on promoting the Four Pillars of Free-Market Health Care Reform — Choice, Competition, Accountability and Personal Responsibility — pillars that will lead to lower costs and better patient outcomes.”
Today, CPR has a large, nearly full-page ad in the Washington Post cheering the public option’s death. The top of the ad has a tombstone reading, “PUBLIC OPTION PLAN R.I.P. January 27, 2010.” More text from the ad:
In his State of the Union Address, the President didn’t doom his Public Option health care plan with faint praise, he simply BURIED it with deafening silence. [...]
Finally, those of us who opposed your government-run Public Option plan can close this chapter.
By educating on the perils of your government-run Public Option plan, we achieved our goals to protect patients’ rights and stop a government takeover of our health care choices. Today, we join with our fellow Americans concerned with protecting patients’ rights to celebrate that our months of hard work finally paid off.
ThinkProgress spoke to CPR spokesman Brian Burgess of CRC Public Relations, who said that the ad was running only in the Washington Post.
CPR was not reflecting the views of most “fellow Americans” in its campaign. Over the summer, there was actually strong public support for the public option. Through an aggressive campaign, the health care industry spread misinformation to create opposition.