VIDEO: Scaring Breast Cancer Patients with Health Care Reform

Last night Rachel Maddow called out the Independent Women’s Forum for running an ad with a multi-million dollar ad buy in eight states that claims that "government control of health care could have meant that 300,000 American women with breast cancer might have died." 

A piece by Michelle Goldberg in The Daily Beast highlights a fundraising email sent out by the Independent Women’s Forum with an increasingly familiar ominous subject line:

In a fundraising email with the subject line “More American Women
Are Going to Die,” the IWF invoked “real people who might not make it
if President Obama inflicts his nationalized healthcare on America.”

The Independent Women’s Forum is closely linked to Americans for
Prosperity, a major organizer of anti-Obama tea parties and town hall
protests. (According to, the two groups shared the same
address and most of the same operations staff until last year). So the
effort to link health-care reform to breast cancer death is coming from
the same people who’ve previously compared health care reform to the
Holocaust. The new tack sounds slightly more reasonable, and it’s
developing legs.

On the Rachel Maddow show Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, said

"It made me mad.  I don’t like being lied to and manipulated….  You know, women are bearing the brunt of the broken health care system and we kow what we need and what we certainly don’t need is scare tactics claiming that women with breast cancer are suddenly going to die if we have health care reform, it’s outrageous…. It is not new for extremists to use women’s need for reproductive health services as a political football."

Here’s the segment:

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  • kschaff

    The irony of the IWF ad is that the speaker says her odds of surviving breast cancer were high because her “treatment was the best.” She presumably received the best treatment because she was able to afford the best treatment– namely, because she had private insurance. In the UK, women can also turn to private doctors for breast cancer treatment– or any other kind of health care. The issue, of course, is that not all women in the US or the UK have access to private health care. A public option (not “government control,” as the ad renames the public option) would ensure that those women who weren’t able to afford a private option could actually receive treatment. The IWF ad ends up reaffirming the need for a public option… talk about misguided rhetoric!