Two new groups aimed at building public support for the health care law have raised about $5 million to counter critics who are trying to weaken regulations or repeal all or parts of the measure.
The two groups, dubbed Know Your Care and Protect Your Care, are comprised of unions, liberal and small business entities and boast several big name Democrats closely allied with the White House.
The two-track drive, which is expected to continue through the 2012 elections, is being spearheaded by Paul Tewes, who ran President Obama’s Iowa drive in 2008. Tewes, who heads a small public affairs firm called New Partners, is getting fundraising help from Ami Copeland, one of his business associates. Copeland was a fundraiser for Obama in the 2008 campaign. Tanya Bjork, who led Obama’s Wisconsin efforts in 2008, will manage the dual campaigns
The two groups include among others: Service Employees International Union; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Families USA; Health Care for America NOW; and the Small Business Majority.
Know your Care, a 501(c)3 which must disclose its donors, will be used to promote the law’s benefits. Protect Your Care, a 501(c)4 which doesn’t have to reveal its donors, will lobby nationwide to defend the law from being eroded in Washington and in the states.
“We’re trying to promote the benefits of the law so that the American people understand what’s at stake” if repeal efforts are successful, said David Di Martino, a spokesman for both groups. “Repeal advocates in Congress are attacking the Affordable Care Act as well as Medicare and Medicaid on a daily basis.”
Di Martino said that there will be paid advertising and other media events in several states to underscore the law’s pluses.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle are on an advisory board for the groups and will help tout the law’s benefits to the public, said Di Martino.
The blitz to defend the law comes at a time when several conservative and business groups have stepped up their advertising, grassroots and legal drives to undercut the law.
The law’s supporters say the individual mandate, which requires all Americans to have health coverage, is under fire in Congress from Republicans and has been challenged in the courts on constitutional grounds. In recent months the courts have split on the individual mandate issue.
The new efforts follow an earlier drive by several of the same liberal allies to defend the law.
Last month over the first anniversary of the Affordable Healthcare Act, the Democratic allies helped organize 200 events in 35 states to tout the legislation. More than 40 of the events featured administration officials including Kathleen Sibelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Karen Mills, who runs the Small Business Administration.