Industry-Backed Anti-Health Care Reform Group: Yeah, We’re Packing And Disrupting The Health Care Town Halls

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Yesterday, I reported that the anti-health care reform group Conservatives for Patients Rights was enlisting tea party protesters to attend and disrupt health care town halls hosted by members of Congress in their regions.

Today, CPR–which is headed by disgraced hospital executive Rick Scott, and has enlisted the message men behind the Swift Boat campaign–has acknowledged their behind-the-scenes role in the outbursts.

Spokesman Brian Burgess tells Greg Sargent that CPR is distributing “town hall alert” flyers to people on its mailing lists and is reaching out to third party groups via online list serv.

Perhaps the most significant of these discussion groups is the called Tea Party Patriots, which is managed by Tom Gaitens, a field organizer for the industry-funded lobbying organization FreedomWorks. Members of this list serve were not only supplied with list of town hall forums, but with a strategy document outlining the same disruptive techniques we’re seeing play out at health care public forums around the country.

The disclosure makes official what much of the reporting about the disruptions seemed to indicate: that industry funded groups–who stand to benefit if health reform legislation fails–are playing a significant role in organizing, and perhaps ginning up, the outbursts we’re seeing at health care public forums around the country.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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