Last September, ThinkProgress reported that, despite its public support for health care reform, the insurance industry was engaged in a "duplicitous" campaign to undermine the effort. Now the National Journal has confirmed that from September to December 2009, "six of the nation's biggest health insurers began quietly pumping big money into third-party television ads aimed at killing or significantly modifying the major health reform bills moving through Congress." The companies used America's Health Insurance Plans — the lobbying arm of the insurance industry — "as a conduit to avoid a repeat of the political flack that hit the insurance industry after it famously ran its multi-million dollar 'Harry and Louise' ads to help kill health care reforms during the Clinton administration":
That money, between $10 million and $20 million, came from Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Kaiser Foundation Health Plans, UnitedHealth Group and Wellpoint, according to two health care lobbyists familiar with the transactions. The companies are all members of the powerful trade group America's Health Insurance Plans. The funds were solicited by AHIP and funneled to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help underwrite tens of millions of dollars of television ads by two business coalitions set up and subsidized by the chamber. Each insurer kicked in at least $1 million and some gave multi-million dollar donations.