Washington groups have lobbied Congress and the public in nearly every imaginable direction on health reform. But those groups include a few that you may not have guessed would have an interest.
"In a news conference on Tuesday aimed at pressuring swing-vote senators, leaders of the National Farmers Union, which represents about 250,000 farm and ranch families, stressed the importance of major health care legislation to agricultural workers in Arkansas, Maine and Nebraska," The New York Times reports. Those states correspond to Senate swing-voters Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both Maine Republicans, and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., (Herszenhorn, 11/24).
Also this week, Gun Owners of American sent letters to senators claiming that voting for health care reform means voting against gun rights, NPR reports. "Every medical record will be fed into a government medical database which was created under the stimulus bill, and that information can be forwarded to the Brady background check system," a spokesman for the group said, implying that health records would include gun ownership information. Officials say that there's no database and the claims are not true (Overby, 11/25).
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports, "The Obama administration and two major lobbying groups are seeking to spur momentum for a health-care overhaul after the U.S. Senate cleared the way for a floor debate that is likely to extend to Christmas or beyond." The American Medical Association and the AARP are launching a new ad campaign on how reform would bolster Medicare. The White House has just released a report saying that states would benefit form the overhaul, too (Dodge, 11/24).
"Business groups opposed to the Senate health care bill are continuing to press Congress to start over on health care reform," Roll Call reports. A conglomerate of 186 business associations are buying ads in states with swing voters or conservative Democrats who may be pressured to oppose the overhaul: Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, North Dakota and Virginia (Palmer, 11/24).