To: Reporters and Editors
From: Ethan Rome, Executive Director, Health Care for America Now
RE: The Big Special Interest Money Behind Obamacare Repeal
Today at the National Press Club, Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the American Action Network are hosting a panel discussion about why more than 30 million people who will get health coverage through Obamacare should instead be denied care. On Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner and his Republican majority plan to vote for the 31st time to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Like all the other repeal votes, this one will die in the Senate. But the big story is the secret money driving the entire Obamacare repeal effort on Capitol Hill, in television ads and in Republican issue and electoral campaigns nationwide.
Crossroads and American Action Network are part of the extreme right’s $1 billion campaign to bring down President Obama and his signature achievement, Obamacare. Ending Medicare as we know it and dismantling Medicaid are also key parts of their plan. This coordinated effort is funded largely by secret contributions from millionaires, billionaires and special interests like health insurance companies.
Here’s a snapshot of the money behind Obamacare repeal and other conservative causes:
An explosion of political advertising:
- Opponents of Obamacare have spent $235 million on ads, including $18 million from Crossroads GPS, $27 million from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and $9 million from the American Action Network. There has been little public disclosure of where that money came from, but the health insurance industry has a history of funding both the Chamber and American Action Network.
- A conservative group called Concerned Women of America is currently spending $6 million to run negative ads. That’s more than the group’s entire budget in recent years, but the organization isn’t explaining where the money came from – and it doesn’t have to.
Secretive spending to fund efforts to block the law:
- The lobbying group America’s Health Insurance Plans transferred $86 million to the Chamber during 2009 and another $16 million in 2010 to fight Obamacare, bringing the total to more than $102 million. Figures for 2011 and 2012 have not surfaced yet. Even as the health insurance trade group paid the Chamber, AHIP was publicly professing to support the law.
- Health insurer Aetna Inc. contributed $3.3 million to the American Action Network and $4.5 million to the Chamber of Commerce in 2011, according to a report by SNL Financial.
- American Action Network yesterday announced a $1.2 million campaign urging 35 GOP House members in competitive races to stand firm and vote for repeal.
Engineering a failed lawsuit:
- The National Federation of Independent Business, the lead plaintiff in the case decided last month by the Supreme Court, accepted million-dollar contributions from outside, non-member sources to cover the costs of the lawsuit, including a payment of $3.7 million from Crossroads GPS in 2010.
- The American Action Forum filed three amicus briefs urging the Supreme Court to overturn the 2010 health reform law.
Arranging to buy the current Congress – and possibly the White House:
- In February, Politico reported that billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, leading benefactors of the anti-Obamacare front group Americans for Prosperity, planned to contribute or steer a total of $88 million to conservative causes during the 2012 election cycle. In May, Politico updated the story, reporting that Koch-related organizations planned to spend about $400 million in the 2012 election cycle.
- American Crossroads and the affiliated Crossroads GPS are expected to contribute $300 million to support the White House bid of Mitt Romney, who has pledged to reverse the Affordable Care Act on his first day in office.
- American Action Network spent $26 million in the 2010 election cycle, including more than $20 million in election communication and $4.9 million in negative ads against Democrats, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
- During the 2010 election cycle, Crossroads spent $14 million on independent expenditures while refusing to register as a political committee, while the GOP front group 60 Plus Association made more than $1 million in independent expenditures to spread lies about Obamacare and Medicare.