The industry group America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) isn't just "sending thousands of its employees to town-hall meetings and other forums .... to try to counter a tide of criticism directed at the insurers," as the Wall Street Journal reported recently. AHIP has retained the notorious Astroturfing firm Democracy Data & Communications (DDC) to run its "grassroots" lobbying effort. AHIP's "grassroots outreach website AHIPAdvocacy.org is hosted on a server owned by DDC," reports Think Progress. Sitting on the same server are DDC-maintained "grassroots outreach websites for large health insurance companies," including Aetna and Humana, along with sites for Altria / Philip Morris and Koch Industries. "DDC servers also host anti-health reform letters from the Chamber of Commerce and Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA), as well as continual news updates about the reform debate." Another DDC-hosted site, EFCA-info.org, "is chock-full of misinformation regarding the Employee Free Choice Act," which would make it easier for employees to join a union. The groups behind the anti-labor site include the Independent Women's Forum, HR Policy Association, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and National Black Chamber of Commerce, reports a Think Progress "Wonk Room" piece.
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