I work for a university where a lot of people grumbled when the university president sent us all a letter encouraging us to vote for Proposition 2 (the pro-stem cell research ballot initiative) in the 2006 election, and even then, it was a very gentle ask with an acknowledgement that reasonable people can disagree on the issue.
This strikes me as something much, much worse. Via TPM, Express Scripts, the St. Louis-based pharmacy benefits management company, has sent a letter to its employees strongly encouraging them to use a company web page to sign and send a form letter their representatives in opposition to health care reform without disclosing that they work for a company who would financially benefit if health care reform failed (and left a lot of other people hurting, I might add.)
The text of the opposition form letter:
I appreciate that Congress is considering reforming our health care system to lower costs, improve quality and expand access to the uninsured. However, I am concerned at the pace at which Washington seems to be moving.
Health care is something very personal to me. I have good employer-provided benefits and affordable prescription drug coverage. It is important that health care reform not undermine my current benefits.
* Please take the time to get reform right
* Build upon the successes of the current, employer-based system
* Support policies that will actually lower health care costs
* Avoid a vast expansion of government spending, especially in the current economic climate
Our health care system delivers some of the best quality in the world, but it is an extremely complex system. It is critical that Congress take the time to get reform right.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Note that several of the points dovetail with the same GOP talking points written by people who have admitted that they intend to stop health care reform. They claim to want to avoid an expansion of government spending, to preserve the “successes” of our current employer-based system, and that we need to slow down the pace at which health care reform is moving through Washington.
What, is 60 years too slow? Is maintaining a system in which you have to be employed at your current job in order to keep your health care coverage really worth it? To the executives at Express Scripts, of course it is. It’s worth it because the execs preserve their own massive profits with the status quo, and I don’t expect them to do anything other than fight to maintain the current system. On the other hand, let them make their case in public, and not stoop to cajoling their own employees into an astroturf operation.
I’ll also just note that Express Scripts is no stranger to controversy. They settled a 2004 lawsuit from the State of New York over charges that they defrauded the state of over $100 million in prescription drug rebates. They also provided human growth hormone (HGH), a banned performance-enhancing supplement, to “well-known athletes”, and paid a $10.5 million fine for the transgressions.