"Our reach is wide by any corporate standard": how the tobacco industry helped defeat the Clinton health plan and why it matters now

Am J Public Health. 2010 Jul;100(7):1174-88. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.179150. Epub 2010 May 13.


Contemporary health care reformers, like those who promoted the failed Clinton era plan, face opposition from multiple corporate interests. However, scant literature has examined how relationships between corporations and other stakeholders, such as think tanks and advocacy groups, shape health care reform debate. We show how the 2 biggest US tobacco companies, Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds, and their trade association coordinated in mobilizing ideologically diverse constituencies to help defeat the Clinton plan. Unwittingly perhaps, some reform supporters advanced the tobacco industry's public relations blitz, contributing to perceptions of public opposition to the plan. As the current reform debate unfolds, this case highlights the importance of funding transparency for interpreting the activities of think tanks, advocacy groups, and "grassroots" movements.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Health Care Reform / economics
  • Health Care Reform / history*
  • Health Care Reform / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Health Policy / history*
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Lobbying*
  • Social Marketing
  • Taxes / history
  • Taxes / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Tobacco Industry / economics
  • Tobacco Industry / history*
  • Tobacco Industry / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States