Industry groups timidly speak out against Obama Administration Attacks on Critics

More on administration attacks on critics is here. A video from Fox News Sunday can be seen here.

President Obama is not living up to his pledge to hold an open debate over health care reform and is engaged in a "public relations campaign" to penalize critics, representatives from two industry groups in the administration's cross hairs said Sunday.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President Bruce Josten and America's Health Insurance Plans Vice President Mike Tuffin told "Fox News Sunday" that they will continue to raise questions about the health care reforms plans working their way through Congress. But they decried the "name-calling" they said was coming out of the White House.

"There shouldn't be a penalty for speaking out and introducing data into the public domain," Tuffin said. "There's been a political, public relations campaign run against people who put data out that says specific provisions are going to increase cost."

Tuffin's group absorbed sharp criticism earlier in the month when it released a report criticizing health care reform ahead of a key vote on the Senate Finance Committee. The group claims efforts to weaken penalties for not getting insurance will encourage people to wait until they fall sick to get covered.

Meanwhile, administration officials have tried to do an end-run around the Chamber of Commerce, which has also opposed health care reform proposals, by dealing directly with members and publicly criticizing the group.

Josten said the administration was keeping a tight grip on debate.

"Being invited to auditoriums with 130 to 150 people where the president comes and gives prepared remarks, calls on a couple people in the audience, is not a consultative outreach," he said. "That's not an exchange of ideas." . . . .

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Blogger Bill said...

In the video link, Obama states that the US Chamber of Commerce spent half a billion dollars over the last 10 years on lobbying. However, in his presidential campaign, Obama spend almost 50% more. http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/summary.php?cycle=2008&cid=N00009638

10/25/2009 8:38 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Thanks, Bill, good point.

10/25/2009 9:43 PM  

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