Insurer Urges Employees to Protest Health Care Reform
UnitedHealth Group lays down AstroTurf
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2009 3:20 PM CDT
Kathy Straughan protests the health care reform plan supported by President Barack Obama during a rally Aug. 15, 2009, in Atlanta.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s second-biggest health insurance firm, has been encouraging employees to attend events protesting health-care reform, Talking Points Memo reports. In a clear-cut example of “Astroturf”—fake grassroots action—a memo to employees urges them to call an “advocacy specialist” who can provide talking points for a letter to an elected official or information on protest events in the employee’s area.

A source who called the hotline was directed to a list of events hosted by the conservative America’s Independent Party, and specifically advised to attend a “tea party” protesting health care outside the office of Blue Dog Democratic Rep. Zack Space. It also says that participating employees may be contacted “during business hours” by members of UHG’s advocacy team.
Click the second link to see the letter.