Major Health Insurance Company Urges Employees To Attend Tea Parties

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At 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 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).

UHG was not immediately available for comment.

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 opposition to health care reform on those same groups. Well, as you can see, it’s perfectly possible for industry to have it both ways.

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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