Insurers Funded Ads Against Reform, While Publicly Supporting It

National Journal's Peter H. Stone, writing on the Under the Influence blog, reports that health insurers funneled money through the Chamber of Commerce to fund ads attacking health care reform.

According to two lobbyists with knowledge of the dealings, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) solicited a total of between $10 million and $20 million from six insurance companies--Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Kaiser Foundation Health Plans, UnitedHealth Group, and Wellpoint--to be given to the Chamber to fund anti-reform ads.

While health insurers have been portrayed as an enemy of health care reform by Democrats and the White House since August, they've publicly claimed to support health care reform--in a general sense--throughout the reform process, though they've accused specific Democratic plans as raising costs. From Stone's reporting, it appears insurers were working less publicly to scuttle those plans.

UPDATE: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. emails to say that it didn't fund any negative ads: AHIP agreed in writing that any funds donated to it from Kaiser would be used for positive advertising only, Kaiser says, relaying that AHIP has told Kaiser it honored that commitment.