Americans for the Arts: “The health care statement by the 21 arts groups was begun and finished well before August 10. The nation’s arts groups have a long history of advocating to presidential administrations and Congress, not the other way around. In December 2007, almost two years ago, Americans for the Arts released a widely publicized policy brief that included items on health care and the arts to all Presidential candidates. And in March 2009 we issued another policy brief on health care and the arts that was drafted in agreement with more than 80 national arts organizations. …(from the supporting memo) There never was an endorsement of Obama’s health reform plan. … The statement reiterates arts policy positions on health care consistent with at least two years of similar advocacy by Americans for the Arts …”
The Washington Times: The Times has not published anything about when groups began work on their healthcare statement or when that work ended. The fact remains that the statement was published on the web two days after the Aug. 10 conference call and a press release was sent out the next day.
The press release and statement released by the 21 arts organizations on Aug. 12 and 13, do not simply “reiterate arts policy positions on health care consistent with at least two years of similar advocacy.” After the conference call, Americans for the Arts advocated “guaranteed universal health insurance coverage,” rules to stop insurance companies from denying coverage “because of pre-existing conditions,” and the Obama administration’s controversial “public health insurance option.” Documents cited by Mr. Lynch and released before the call do not endorse any of those policies and are much more strictly focused on health care for artists.
The idea that Americans for the Arts and its partner groups could endorse the single most controversial element of the Obama healthcare plan – the public option – without being perceived as endorsing the Obama plan is preposterous. Endorsing the administration’s key goal in the middle of a debate about whether the administration should fight for it or compromise with Congress without being seen as an Obama administration ally simply defies belief.