Axelrod Wanted ‘SPAM’ White House E-mail to Go “Viral”

David Axelrod

The Obama White House has engaged in an attempt to mimic the vibrant opposition to its healthcare agenda by sending out an e-mail from White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod. “Dear Friend,” the August 13 message began, “This is probably one of the longest emails I’ve ever sent, but it could be the most important.”

Axelrod explained that the e-mail was designed to counter opposition “viral emails that fly unchecked and under the radar, spreading all sorts of lies and distortions.”

“So let’s start a chain email of our own,” he said. “At the end of my email, you’ll find a lot of information about health insurance reform, distilled into 8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage, 8 common myths about reform and 8 reasons we need health insurance reform now. Right now, someone you know probably has a question about reform that could be answered by what’s below. So what are you waiting for? Forward this email.”

The problem with Axelrod’s e-mail is that it doesn’t contain a single fact linking to an original source; it only retails the same stale talking points the White House has been putting out for months. Moreover, most of the talking points in the memo flatly contradict all publicly available facts, and sometimes even Obama’s own public statements.

Consider, for instance, Axelrod’s claim that:

We can’t afford reform: It’s the status quo we can’t afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget.

Let’s assume as truth that the status quo is unaffordable and will “basically break the federal budget,” as Obama himself has said. While Obama never issued a detailed fiscal proposal for health reform, if we use Obama’s own math from his public statements, the only conclusion a logical person could come to is that his healthcare would break his budget. Obama’s plan is to make some substantial cuts from the expected increases in costs Medicare and Medicaid will pay out over the next 10 years, but also to spend every penny of that savings on his new healthcare plan. Consider his own budgetary language from his “town hall” meeting in New Hampshire August 11:

About two-thirds of those costs we can cover by eliminating the inefficiencies that I already mentioned. So I already talked about $177 billion worth of subsidies to the insurance companies. Let’s take that money, let’s put it in the kitty. There’s about $500 billion to $600 billion over 10 years that can be saved without cutting benefits for people who are currently receiving Medicare, actually making the system more efficient over time. That does still leave, though, anywhere from $300 billion to $400 billion over 10 years, or $30 billion to $40 billion a year. That does have to be paid for, and we will need new sources of revenue to pay for it.

Please read the wider article at White House E-mail Campaign Seeks to Go “Viral”.

What the E-Mail Looks Like

Dear Friend,

This is probably one of the longest emails I´ve ever sent, but it could be the most important.

Axelrod Wanted SPAM White House E-mail to go Viral

Axelrod Wanted SPAM White House E-mail to go Viral

Across the country we are seeing vigorous debate about health insurance reform. Unfortunately, some of the old tactics we know so well are back — even the viral emails that fly unchecked and under the radar, spreading all sorts of lies and distortions.

As President Obama said at the town hall in New Hampshire, “where we do disagree, let’s disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that’s actually been proposed.”

So let´s start a chain email of our own. At the end of my email, you´ll find a lot of information about health insurance reform, distilled into 8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage, 8 common myths about reform and 8 reasons we need health insurance reform now.

Right now, someone you know probably has a question about reform that could be answered by what´s below. So what are you waiting for? Forward this email.

Thanks,

David

David Axelrod

Senior Advisor to the President

P.S. We launched www.WhiteHouse.gov/realitycheck this week to knock down the rumors and lies that are floating around the internet. You can find the information below, and much more, there. For example, we’ve just added a video of Nancy-Ann DeParle from our Health Reform Office tackling a viral email head on. Check it out:

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage

Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.

Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.

Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.

Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.

Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.

Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.

Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.

Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won’t be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.

Learn more and get details: http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/health-insurance-consumer-protections/

8 common myths about health insurance reform

Reform will stop “rationing” – not increase it: It´s a myth that reform will mean a “government takeover” of health care or lead to “rationing.” To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.

We can´t afford reform: It’s the status quo we can’t afford. It´s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.

Reform would encourage “euthanasia”: It does not. It´s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.

Vets’ health care is safe and sound: It´s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans’ access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President’s budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.

Reform will benefit small business – not burden it: It´s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.

Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It´s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare “doughnut” hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.

You can keep your own insurance: It´s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.

No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.

Learn more and get details:

http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/realitycheck

http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/realitycheck/faq

8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now

Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/denied_coverage/index.html

Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job. Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/hiddencosts/index.html

Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women´s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/women/index.html

Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/hardtimes

Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/helpbottomline

The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/inaction

Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people – one in every three Americans under the age of 65 – were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/inaction/diminishing/index.html

The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance – projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more: http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/assets/documents/CEA_Health_Care_Report.pdf

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Please do not reply to this email. Contact the White House

The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111

Read Major Garretts Post at » E-Mail Story Update Row 2, Seat 4 « FOXNews.com.

How did the White House get the e-mails?  See the White House Privacy Policy

There are several theories out there, one is that at some time the people had used a government website, specifically  Whitehouse.gov

One person who received an email from Axelrod wrote to the Blog HotAir and said,  “After seeing this post on your web site, I can add some information on who’s getting the emails. Some time back, I went to the whitehouse.gov site and sent a congratulatory note by using the “contact us” link. One of the required fields on that form is an email address. I didn’t want to use my regular email address, so I used an old email address that I never use anymore. When I read this post, I became curious and checked that email address. Sure enough, there were seven emails there from whitehouse.gov, starting on July 14 and going up through the current David Axelrod “Something worth forwarding” email today

I have sent an email to the “flag” address using my regular email address, but have not received any whitehouse.gov emails in return to that address.

So for me, it definitely seems to be dependent on my contact to whitehouse.gov, even though no notice is given that you will be placed on an email list at that site.”

Please see the full story at HotAir- Major Garrett grills Gibbs: Why are people getting unsolicited e-mails from David Axelrod about health care? Update: See White House privacy policy.

The e-mails all came from a company called GovDelivery

GovDelivery is the world’s leading provider of government-to-citizen communication solutions.

via Company Overview | Government-to-Citizen Digital Subscription Management | GovDelivery.  Since GovDelivery provides solutions for many components of the Government including Congress.  The company could have provided data mining services and provided the White House with e-mail addresses of anyone who contacted the Government.  “There’s also a statute that requires the White House to retain all communications that it receives,  the White House may have felt it ‘owned’ the data and could use them to provide education to it’s citizenery.  The problem is by using the e-mail adresses,  The White House may have violated the Privacy Act of 1974.

Conclusion:

So what was the real reason Axelrod sent the email? This blogs contention is that David Axelrod,  being one of the best ‘spin doctors’ in the industry,  knew that an unsolicited email from the White House would cause a stir. Since Major Garrett and Press Secretary Gibbs had a bout over the ‘the e-mail’ Axelrod knew that the email would go viral and be part of many stories in the blogisphere, talk radio, and Fox News. The Editor is a former political strategist for a major political party.  I am well aware of how ‘spin’ works in the political world.  Axelrod figured folks would actually read the email and click through the links.  Have we fallen into the hands of our political enemy by posting the e-mail for all to see? Probably.

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