While we all recognize the need for health care reform, many are hard at work trying to sway public opinion and influence members of Congress. Richard Scott, a multimillionaire investor and controversial former hospital chief executive, has become an unlikely and prominent leader of the opposition to health care reform, according to the Washington Post. The public relations firm promoting Scott and his front group is one of the “usual suspects.” Few Americans know who CRC Public Relations is. For the uninformed, this is the conservative firm previously known as Creative Response Concepts, the outfit that masterminded the successful “Swift Boat” attacks against Presidential candidate John F. Kerry in 2004. The firm is now working with Scott and his group, Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, in an effort to block reform of a broken health care system. Based on the Swift Boat campaign, it’s clear that this group plays fast and loose with the truth.
The disorganized Republican Party laid low for a time, waiting for President Obama and Democratic leaders to reveal the details of their plan before opposing it. But Scott was not waiting and he started to use $5 million of his own money and up to $15 million more from supporters to build resistance to any government-run program. His campaign included television ads featuring “horror stories” of Canadian and British residents who “allegedly suffered long waits for surgeries, couldn’t get the drugs they needed, or had to come to the United States for treatment.” These are the same scare tactics industry groups used to respond to the 2007 Michael Moore movie Sicko and also to promote the Swift Boat campaign used effectively to derail the Kerry presidential campaign.
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