As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

United Health Group Would Like You To Attend A Tea Party

United Health Care is one of the largest health insurers in America, covering 29.5 million individuals and over 70 million including employer-based coverage, according to recent securities filings. They are part of the cartel of insurance companies that hold regional dominance over the individual marketplace and restrict choice for consumers. But they claim to support health care reform. Right there in big bold letters on their own website.

This summer will be a critical time in the debate over how to improve health care in the United States. As the nation’s leading health and wellbeing company, trusted by over 70 million Americans to fund and manage their care, we are actively and constructively engaged in this effort.

UnitedHealth Group has a responsibility to be actively contributing ideas and practical solutions to this debate. As citizens of this nation, we each have a responsibility to remain informed and engaged on a subject so important to us all.

We are pleased that you are here and we encourage you to take advantage of the resources and tools provided on this website to better educate yourself and to make your voice heard.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

Responsibly and actively contributing ideas and solutions. That's the claim. How can that be reconciled with this?

Last week, UnitedHealth Group--the second largest health insurance company in the country--sent out a letter to its employees urging them to call UHG's United for Health Reform Advocacy Hotline to speak with an advocacy specialist about health care reform. The advocacy specialist, according to the letter, is there to help UHG employees write personalized messages to elected officials, and to arm them with talking points to use at local events in order to better oppose the public health insurance option.

TPM has obtained the letter, which you can read here, but a UHG advocacy specialist was not willing to provide TPM with a copy.

However, a source who's insured by UHG--and who also obtained the letter--called the hotline on Tuesday and says the company directed him to an events list hosted by the right wing America's Independent Party, and suggested he attend an anti-health care reform tea party sponsored by religious fundamentalist Dave Daubenmire, scheduled for today outside the office of Blue Dog Rep. Zack Space (D-OH).

Giant insurers like United Health Group see value in enabling right-wing shriek-fests. They'll either derail reform, and keep a status quo that earned the CEO $124.8 million in 2005, or get a workable, sham "reform" without a public option that would essentially funnel government subsidies to their company. They have a good racket going, and they want to keep it.

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