Insurer Recruits Employees To Oppose Health Bills, Angers Consumer Group
"In an aggressive new effort to influence the congressional health care debate, UnitedHealth Group this week e-mailed its 75,000 U.S. employees, urging them to contact their senators and providing two form letters attacking specific legislative proposals," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. The company also asked workers to write to local newspapers and send copies of letters to their lobbying wing. The workers were urged to attack two reform proposals that insurers strongly oppose: A "public insurance option" and cuts to the Medicare Advantage program (Yee, 11/13).
"Consumer Watchdog, the California-based advocacy group that obtained the documents, says the letters are full of misleading GOP talking points, such as the claim that millions will lose coverage," The Washington Post reports. "The group also says the campaign amounts to intimidation of employees of UnitedHealth Group and its main operating division, UnitedHealthcare." The Post adds that "at another major insurer, Indianapolis-based Cigna, two executives sent a staff e-mail Wednesday criticizing the health reform package approved in the House last weekend and urging Cigna employees 'to act as emissaries for our company and reach out to your elected officials to educate them'" (Eggen, 11/13).