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Major Health Insurance Company Urges Employees
To Attend Tea Parties
Brian Beutler | August 19, 2009, 9:45AM

At

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Astroturf, Health Care, Public Option, Tea Party

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least one major insurer is urging its employees to participate in tea parties.

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 TPM PollTracker
to the letter, is there to help UHG employees write personalized messages to elected officials, and TPM POLL AVERAGES
to arm them with talking points to use at local events in order to better oppose the public health
Barack Obama 45.3% 50.1% -4.8
insurance option.
Job Approval Approve Disapprove Spread
TPM has obtained the letter, which you can read here, but a UHG advocacy specialist was not
Congressional 42.5% 49.9% +7.4
willing to provide TPM with a copy.
Generic Ballot DEM GOP Spread R
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 LATEST POLLS
Independent Party, and suggested he attend an anti-health care reform tea party sponsored by Obama Job Approval (US) Approve 45.0%
religious fundamentalist Dave Daubenmire, scheduled for today outside the office of Blue Dog Rep. Nov. 03 / Rasmussen Disapprove 54.0%
Zack Space (D-OH). Obama Job Approval (US) Approve 44.0%
Nov. 03 / Gallup Disapprove 49.0%
UHG was not immediately available for comment.
Obama Job Approval (US) Approve 48.0%
Nov. 02 / Rasmussen Disapprove 52.0%
Some conservatives have used the fact that industry groups nominally support health care reform to
attack liberals and Democrats for blaming town hall disruptions and other public displays of Obama Job Approval (US) Approve 43.0%
opposition to health care reform on those same groups. Well, as you can see, it's perfectly possible Nov. 02 / Gallup Disapprove 49.0%
for industry to have it both ways. US-Congressional Generic Ballot Democrats (D) 45.0%
Nov. 01 / YouGov Republicans (R) 52.0%
FL-GOV Scott (R) 49.0%
Other Stories Featured at TPMDC Nov. 01 / Susquehanna (R) Sink (D) 45.0%
Rick Scott Favorability (FL) Favorable 46.0%
Nov. 01 / Susquehanna (R) Unfavorable 45.0%
More polls »

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Moose49 AUGUST 19, 2009 10:13 AM 580 people shared this.

The good news about this is now they've been outed. And the next time the
Facebook social plugin
loathsome traitor Karen Ignani spouts one of her many lies about how her industry
supports reform, she can be called on it.
TPM Top News
REPLY | FLAG ABUSE
n4ln4ever AUGUST 21, 2009 9:52 AM in reply to Moose49
Obama Vs. McConnell
The Video Showdown
I say we all send an e-mal to United Health Group in inform them that we will
advice all of the people tha we know to drop their insurance...maybe it will scare
them a bit.
Or you can just tell them "Go F@CK Y*uSelf Evil S@n of B*tches! Made Up Cost Of Obama's
You don't need to enter your information. Just that e-mail you only use to sign up India Trip Outrages Bachmann
for random stuff:
http://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/main/ContactUsForm.aspx

I can't stand these greedy institutions...


Minnesota GOP And Dems

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Major Health Insurance Company Urges Employees To Atte... http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/08/major-health-i...

I already sent an e-mail to them...it wasn't pretty... Gearing Up For Recount Part II

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


AnswerFrogAUGUST 19, 2009 10:13 AM
More Right Wingers Howl Over
Listen to Dr. Dean: President Obama's India Trip

http://www.onpointradio.org/2009/08/the-public-option-debate

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


Steve AUGUST 19, 2009 10:14 AM
LaBonne
They may be sending those letter to their insureds as well as employees? Oh goody.
I'm insured by them, and please please send me one of those letters, UHC, so I can
send you a reply that will peel the paint off your mailroom walls.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


jeffgee AUGUST 19, 2009 10:59 AM in reply to Steve LaBonne

Then they send you a letter dropping you from their coverage. There's probably
some little detail that was omitted in the application process that they can use to
dump you.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


Steve AUGUST 19, 2009 11:04 AM in reply to jeffgee
LaBonne
They generally can't get away with that with group policies, only individual.
www.Fool.com Ads by Google

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE

Jaycal AUGUST 19, 2009 11:46 AM in reply to jeffgee

I wonder how many areas around the country there are with UHG as the only
insurer.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


mike AUGUST 19, 2009 10:16 AM
from
Arlington
UnitedHealth also owns the Lewin Group, who has been providing Republicans their
talking points and phony statistics based off of unrealistic assumptions.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE

AnswerFrogAUGUST 19, 2009 10:18 AM

UHG is pure evil. These are the main opponents of HCR:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UnitedHealth_Group

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


FawkesFOX AUGUST 19, 2009 10:27 AM

And this is why I always ignore job postings from United Health, no matter what my
job situation, no matter how much they're paying. There is no way I will ever work for
those goddamn vampires.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


jeffgee AUGUST 19, 2009 10:56 AM

As a self-employed person who has to buy insurance on the open market, it raises
my blood pressure to know that the shitty insurance company that I'm stuck with is
using any percentage of my ever-increasing premiums to thwart health care reform.
Every year they raise the premium 20%, even with no claims. $5,000 deductible, any
pre-existing conditions safely redlined so they don't have to cover them. By the time a
person reaches 50, every little thing is a pre-existing condition. Been to a chiropractor
for some spinal adjustment before your policy started? No coverage for any back
problems for you. And who knows what denial tricks they have up their sleeve when a
big claim is made.
I'm not about to "go bare" and drop the insurance, but I fully expect a fight from them
if I ever file a claim.
Note to the GOP- I don't love my health insurance plan.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


Steaming AUGUST 19, 2009 11:30 AM in reply to jeffgee
Pile
$5K deductible? You might as well go bare given that anything significant will
probably get stonewalled until the point becomes moot. You'll still die, but at least
you'll have money in the bank.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


714Day AUGUST 19, 2009 12:28 PM in reply to jeffgee

I assure you, they find ways to disallow secondary payments for seniors on
Medicare as well, but they happily take their premium payments. Seniors are kept

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on the hook with occasional payment.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


raincntry AUGUST 19, 2009 11:07 AM

I have to say that while I don't agree with their message, their tactics are roughly the
same at Moveon.org or any other modern organizing group. UHG, while possibly
deplorable, has a right to have their employees write what they want, attend what
they want, and say what they want. I get similar invitations from environmental groups
I support, asking me to attend meetings and have me sign on to form letters.

If the employees choose not to then that's great but let's not vilify the company for
playing by a well known set of rules when there are so many other reasons to hate
UHG.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


Schmed AUGUST 19, 2009 11:29 AM in reply to raincntry

If MoveOn.org asks me to do something and I don't do it, it doesn't have any


effect on my personnel/performance review or chances for promotions and
raises.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


Hyla AUGUST 19, 2009 11:29 AM in reply to raincntry
Brook
The difference between Moveon.org's tactic and UHG is that you don't work for
MoveOn.

UHG is asking its employees to lobby against reform. If you have ever worked at
a medium sized company that donate to the United Way, you know the subtle
arm-twisting that "encourages" donations. Managers are often give 'goals' for the
percentage of employees who donate.

Do you think UHG's request is any less subtle? Employees have to give their
names to the "Advocacy Specialist", so it will be known who did or did not
participate.

UHG doesn't need to make this cooperation mandatory. Employees know what
the current unemployment rate is. They know they could easily be added to those
statistics.

This coercion plain and simple, no matter how "voluntary" the request from
management appears.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


FawkesFOX AUGUST 19, 2009 11:48 AM in reply to raincntry

Hmmm. Phony equivalency. That's fresh.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


714Day AUGUST 19, 2009 12:31 PM in reply to raincntry

MoveOn has never made a windfall profit from any activity they've asked me to
participate in. And I can say no without worrying I might incur the disfavor of my
employer.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


Snig AUGUST 19, 2009 4:19 PM in reply to raincntry

No.

Moveon transparently attempts to spread liberal ideology based on contributions


of donors. I would douby anywhere on your insurance billing statement it tells you
that money is going to support a political ideology.

UHG is quietly urging employees to advocate a political position. I like Obama,


but it'd be at least shitty and unethical, and hopefully illegal for me to tell my
receptionist to vote for him, or to attend fundraisers or write letters on his behalf.

Among the pies the nice people at UHG have their fingers in is our Medicaid
plans and supplemental Medicare plans. They make money off of that. So they
don't mind socialism as long as they're getting a cut.

Some money that should be going to paying for someone's care is instead going
to advocating for people to attend rallies. If they have the money to urge people
to do that, maybe the competition of a public plan will make them trim the fat and
focus on getting healthcare for their subscribers, instead of trying to quietly
formulate government policy.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


lee AUGUST 20, 2009 3:23 PM in reply to raincntry
mason

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While I agree that UHG has the right to express their views through their
subcribers, the amount money that they spend for their "Astroturf lobbying"
should be disclosed. This gives some smaller org's gas pains, but full disclosure
would be the better option.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


atticus1104 AUGUST 19, 2009 11:45 AM

You must much this clip of Sean Hannity being a huge hypocrite about the public
option and the health care debate. Everyone knows he is a hypocrite, but this is
blatant.

Here is the clip.

http://progressnotcongress.org/?p=2603

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


sbv AUGUST 19, 2009 11:49 AM

lordie, we wouldn't want that 400% made by uhc alone to be jeopardized. let's hope
those employees believe their ceo's compensation should be $5000 an hour while
their's is far less than that.

i can certainly understand the moral dilemma employees of uhc would have; they
need that job to provide for their families and perhaps they genuinely feel a certain
sense of loyalty to their company; but surely even they still can realize when they are
being manipulated for the greed of others.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


714Day AUGUST 19, 2009 12:24 PM

I mentioned yesterday that there was a mind blowing article in Business Week by
Chris Terhune and Keith Epstein about how we are getting screwed by big insurance,
(I have a link via Newsmeat)
http://www.newsmeat.com/news/meat.php?articleId=56650402&channelId=2951&
buyerId=newsmeatcom&buid=3281
Guess who the star of the article is? United Health.
Included in the cast of characters are the GOP reps, of course, but 57 fawning,
pampered Blue Dogs, as well.
Public Option needs to be crammed down their greedy, lying throats.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


Andreams AUGUST 19, 2009 12:26 PM

I work for an agent and we get emails from the major insurance companies about
three times a week, all encouraging us to call our clients and get them to call and
write their elected officials to oppose reform. We are supposed to insinuate that it will
change both their insurance coverage and their ability to get insurance, raise rates,
etc.

When you consider how many people are insured in this country, if agents are
following through, that's a whole lot of people being misinformed. Needless to say, I
do not follow through with those emails. I've fought for universal healthcare a lot
longer than I've worked in insurance.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


714Day AUGUST 19, 2009 12:38 PM in reply to Andreams

Good on you. We won't get single payer come hell or high water, but PO will put
no big insurance provider out of business, as you well know. (though execs may
have to fly commercial rather than gulfstream) Let's get on with it. Or we can
continue to allow the cruel, inhumane practices of the buck reapers to yank our
lives around.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


xargaw AUGUST 19, 2009 12:56 PM

Remember, Nancy Pelosi being villified for calling the insurance industry the enemy.
Well, Nancy was right on, wasn't she?

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


Snig AUGUST 19, 2009 4:57 PM

From the helpful site here:


http://www.unitedforhealthreform.com/education/frequently-asked-questions

"A government-run health plan would be a road block to meaningful health care
reform. It would significantly increase costs for individuals and families, would add
billions of dollars in new liabilities to the federal budget, and would break down the
current health care system upon which more than 160 million Americans rely.
UnitedHealth Group’s Government Affairs team is working with key policymakers
regarding the proposed plans being considered. And you have the opportunity to also
play a constructive role in shaping the health care debate by sharing your opinion

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with your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative. By writing to your Members of
Congress or attending a town hall they are holding, you will have the chance to
inform their decision-making on this key debate."

Presumably a government run health plan unlike the pre-existing medicare and
medicaid, which they're likely making money from.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


blue8505 AUGUST 20, 2009 11:56 PM

I actually work for the company. The company has sent emails to employees telling
us to go to town halls and vocalize our opinions since we work in the healthcare
industry. Let me say clearly though, not once have I felt pressured by anyone in the
company to support any ideas other than my own. It is an absolute lie to say
otherwise and I am telling you from first hand experience. But why wouldn't a
company try to protect its business? I don't care what industry it is, if the government
is preparing to take it over of course you are going to take some action. Democrats
have made us the easy target in this debate and their followers have taken the bait.
We definitely have our faults, we should be covering more pre-existing conditions
(this is very risky in the insurance business) but lets get at the real reform that is
needed in healthcare and that is the exploding hospital costs.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


blue8505 AUGUST 21, 2009 12:03 AM

The congressional budget office has even said this plan isn't fiscally sound. Our
nation is deeply in debt and people really believe that adding a trillion dollar plus
(since when has the government actually kept their initial budget). plan is going to
save money. Medicare and medicaid are failing so don't bring them up. If this
government takeover of healthcare actually passes it will probably lead to the
bankruptcy of our country. Free healthcare is a myth, we would pay for it dearly. I
believe we need to provide healthcare for those that can't afford it, the sick, and the
disabled. But we don't need a full takeover of our system to achieve this.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


blue8505 AUGUST 21, 2009 4:55 PM

Please read the essay titled "Health Care Mythology" at www.stumblingontruth.com.


This is one of the best stories I've read on the topic of health care reform.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


Tosh JUNE 5, 2010 11:25 PM

UHG is quietly urging employees to advocate a political position. I like Obama, but it'd
be at least shitty and unethical, and hopefully illegal for me to tell my receptionist to
vote for him, or to attend fundraisers or write letters on his behalf.

Among the pies the nice people at UHG have their fingers in is our Medicaid plans
and supplemental Medicare plans. They make money off of that. So they don't mind
socialism as long as they're getting a cut.

m65 kamagra

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE


James OCTOBER 20, 2010 4:53 PM

As a self-employed person who has to buy health insurance


on the open market, it raises my blood pressure to know that the shitty insurance
company that I'm stuck with is using any percentage of my ever-increasing premiums
to thwart health care reform. Every year they raise the premium 20%, even with no
claims. $5,000 deductible, any pre-existing conditions safely redlined so they don't
have to cover them. By the time a person reaches 50, every little thing is a
pre-existing condition. Been to a chiropractor for some spinal adjustment before your
policy started? No coverage for any back problems for you. And who knows what
denial tricks they have up their sleeve when a big claim is made.

REPLY | FLAG ABUSE

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