Controversial statements by key Obamacare consultant Jonathan Gruber are not the only evidence of deception of the American public in the passage of President Obama’s health-care legislation.
WND has found the lead pollster and main crafter of the marketing campaign for Obamacare, Celinda Lake, once explained that when selling health-care reform to the public, “perceptions are more important than facts and reason.”
Lake, director of Lake Research, tested Americans for which messaging would work best to market and brand President Obama’s health-care law.
Gruber, an MIT economics professor, has been making headlines for candid statements on Obamacare captured on video.
He said regarding the passage of Obamacare that “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.”
“And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get anything to pass,” he said.
Gruber conceded the bill might have lost support if voters had known that healthier individuals would pay more to subsidize the sick.
In an interview with MSNBC, Gruber apologized for remarks documented in the first of a number of videos that recently surfaced.
“The comments in the video were made at an academic conference,” Gruber said. “I was speaking off the cuff. I basically spoke inappropriately. I regret having made those comments.”
The White House has sought to distance itself from the academician.
However, Gruber’s statements were a rare glimpse into the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that went into the marketing of Obamacare.
The marketing campaign was highly criticized after President Obama infamously told the American public, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” The claim received the “Lie of the Year” award from the Pulitzer Prize winning PolitiFact.com.
Focus on Lake is instructive. She conducted the research for the Herndon Alliance, a little-known group that has been the driving force in selling Obamacare to the country.
Herndon is “the most influential group in the health arena that the public has never heard of,” reported Politico in 2009.
Politico reported that year that when Obama repeatedly announced Americans could maintain their “choice” of doctors and insurance plans, “he is using a Herndon strategy for wringing fear out of a system overhaul.”
In 2008, Lake wrote an article in the Health Affairs journal about branding health-care reform. Lake’s piece was co-authored by Robert Crittenden, the Herndon Alliance executive director.
Lake and Crittenden wrote that rather than presenting a blueprint for health-care reform to the public for discussion, reformers should start “by exploring voters’ own perceptions and the core values that shape their views on health care.”
“Through segmented focus groups and a national telephone survey in 2006, we identified a set of values that drive these swing voters’ perceptions of reform,” wrote Lake and Crittenden.
They asserted that “values” and “perceptions” are more important than “facts” when selling health-care reform.
“Advocates for change in health care would like to think that by using a combination of facts and reason, they could persuade Americans that a progressive, universal health care system would be more effective, efficient, and humane than the current system,” they wrote.
Instead, they said, “real changes must be enacted in the world of politics and public opinion, where values and perceptions are more important than facts and reason.”
Along with advising the Obama administration, Herndon has been providing strategy to Enroll America, the main organization pushing for the uninsured to sign up for Obamacare.
Chavez image gurus
The Herndon Alliance is openly partnered with a number of radical groups, including MoveOn, the National Council of La Raza and a slew of George Soros-funded activist organizations.
It is also partnered with a “direct action” group dedicated to the teachings of radical Saul Alinsky.
The original research that informed Herndon’s blueprint for marketing Obamacare, WND has found, was concocted by the imaging guru for the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.
Herndon’s campaign was also based on survey data from progressive pollster Celinda Lake, whose information was central in President Obama’s 2012 campaign decision to turn contraception for women into a key election issue.
Lake and Herndon have been providing strategy to Enroll America
The research component of the Herndon Alliance is provided by Celinda Lake, who teamed up with a marketing research firm, American Environics. AE uses social-values surveys to gauge public opinion.
Lake was commissioned recently by Enroll America to determine how best to market the Obamacare enrollment campaign to the public.
Lake’s survey found that even with tax credits and federal subsidies, those without insurance still considered the cost of Obamacare too heavy.
She recommended Enroll America not cite any specific dollar amounts when trying to convince the uninsured to sign up.
Lake’s firm, together with Herndon, was one of the driving forces behind the progressive strategy to use contraception as an election issue in 2012.
According to Lake’s website, her company conducted polling on the contraception issue in conjunction with an organization called the Communications Consortium Media Center, or CCMC, and the Herndon Alliance.
Lake’s research on voters attitudes on contraception found Roman Catholic voters tend to mirror voters overall when it comes to reproductive health-care services that the Affordable Care Act will cover.
Lake’s website said: “Not only are Catholics favorable to including birth control or contraception in insurance coverage, these inclusions also make them more favorable toward the Affordable Care Act.”
Herndon’s decision-making for how to market Obamacare was based significantly on the theoretical work of American Environics, which was founded in 2004 by a team of American strategists and Canadian researchers.
AE describes itself as a consulting firm that uses social-values surveys, cognitive linguistics and political psychology to help foundations and nonprofits develop breakthrough social change initiatives.
AE writes that since 2005, its research findings and strategic initiatives on health care, the economy and the environment have been used by multiple members of Congress.
In April 2005, current AE managing partners Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger started AE’s American branch.
Shellenberger previously worked for the anti-corporate, anti-globalization Global Exchange in San Francisco before starting a spin-off public relations firm in 1996, Communication Works.
By 2001, Shellenberger’s firm had grown, and he merged it with Fenton Communications.
Fenton is the main marketing strategist for groups funded by the Soros-financed Tides Center. Fenton also crafted the public relations strategy of MoveOn.org, as well as a who’s who of far-left causes, organizations and activists, from Soros himself to Health Care for America Now to a number of anti-war groups.
In 2004, Shellenberger registered with the Department of Justice as a foreign agent.
His prime client was Venezuelan dictator Chavez. Shellenberger’s private consulting firm, Lumina Strategies LLC, got a six-month, $60,000 subcontract to help build up Chavez’s image, including by providing polling data.
Shellenberger is also a founder of the Apollo Alliance.
WND has reported Apollo is led by a host of radicals, including Van Jones, Obama’s former “green” jobs czar, who resigned after it was exposed that he founded a communist revolutionary group.
Jeff Jones, who heads Apollo’s New York branch, is a former top leader of the Weathermen terrorist organization, while Apollo associate Joel Rogers is a founder of the socialist-oriented New Party.
In May 2006, the AE team of Nordhaus and Shellenberger presented the Road Map for a Health Justice Majority to the Herndon Alliance.
Developed from a values perspective, the Road Map provides a “long-term guide for how to build that Base into a true majority based on activating shared values.”
The Road Map served as a basis for the Herndon Alliance’s plans to influence Americans into accepting the Obama government health-care reform plans.
Richard Kirsch of the Obamacare activist group Health Care for America Now told Carrie Budoff Brown about AE’s findings: “The research from 2006 to 2007 was fundamental to helping shape our view of how to talk about health care and, generally, how progressives and Democrats talk about health care.”
Alinsky Academy, spreading wealth
The Herndon Alliance website lists the group’s “partners,” including the Soros-funded Center for American Progress. Van Jones works at the heavily influential group.
Other Herndon partners are the AFL-CIO, MoveOn, National Council of La Raza and the socialist-oriented SEIU union.
Yet another Herndon partner is Citizens Action of Wisconsin, an arm of the Midwest Academy.
Midwest is dedicated to teaching the tactics of radical organizer Alinsky.
Obama himself once funded Midwest Academy. He has been closely tied to Midwest’s founder, Heather Booth.
Booth has stated building a “progressive majority” would help for “a fair distribution of wealth and power and opportunity.”
She founded Midwest in the 1970s with her husband, Paul, a founder and the former national secretary of Students for a Democratic Society, the radical 1960s anti-war movement from which William Ayers’ domestic Weather Underground terrorist organization splintered.
The Woods Fund, a nonprofit on which Obama served as paid director from 1999 to December 2002, provided capital to the Midwest Academy. WND was first to report Obama sat on the Woods Fund board alongside Ayers.
In 1999, Booth’s Midwest Academy received $75,000 from the Woods Fund. In 2002, with Obama still serving on the Woods Fund, Midwest received another $23,500 for its Young Organizers Development Program.
Midwest describes itself as “one of the nation’s oldest and best-known schools for community organizations, citizen organizations and individuals committed to progressive social change.”
It later morphed into a national organizing institute for an emerging network of organizations known as Citizen Action.
Discover the Networks describes Midwest as “teach[ing] tactics of direct action, confrontation and intimidation.”
WND first reported the executive director of Midwest was part of the team that developed volunteers for President Obama’s 2008 campaign.
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott.