THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Patrick helps kick off twin efforts to defend US health care law

By Michael Levenson
Globe Staff / April 15, 2011

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Governor Deval Patrick, ramping up his involvement in national politics, helped launch twin advocacy organizations yesterday aimed at defending President Obama’s health care law against attacks from Republicans and others in the 2012 election cycle.

At a press conference in Washington, D.C., Patrick launched the groups, Know Your Care and Protect Your Care, with Jim Doyle, a former Democratic governor of Wisconsin, and Neera Tanden, who was policy director for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign and is now chief operating office at the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

Patrick sits on the advisory boards of both groups and will help with major events and strategy, said Eddie Vale, a spokesman for the groups.

Know Your Care, a nonprofit organization, will focus on educating voters about the law, Vale said. Protect Your Care, which is structured differently under federal tax laws, will be allowed to lobby members in Washington and in State Houses across the country. Vale said Protect Your Care does not have to disclose its donors.

The groups, he said, may run television and radio ads in key races, as well as send out mailings and make phone calls to voters. An official involved in the groups said the organizations have raised a combined $5 million.

“The Affordable Care Act is under attack by well-coordinated and well-funded organizations that spread misinformation in order to take away people’s benefits by repealing health care,’’ Patrick said in a statement released by the groups. “This campaign will be an aggressive effort designed to explain and promote these rights as well as protect against other attacks such as attempts to privatize Medicare and Medicaid.’’

Patrick, who has been preparing for a new role as a spokesman for Obama’s reelection campaign, has been especially active in defending the national health care law, which is modeled on the Massachusetts law signed by Patrick’s Republican predecessor, Mitt Romney.

Now that Romney is gearing up for another run for president, Patrick has joined other Democrats in showering the former governor with praise for the law, a sore point for Romney as he courts Republican voters who see the federal law as unconstitutional.

Vale e-mailed the Globe a quote from Patrick praising Romney again during yesterday’s press conference with Doyle and Tanden at the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington.

“I give Governor Romney genuine and sincere credit for his role in working with a Democratic legislature, a Democratic US Senate, a Republican White House, a broad coalition of business and labor leaders and patients’ advocates and experts in the medical field who came together to invent our health care reform,’’ Patrick said. “And, frankly, that broad coalition — I guess with the exception of Governor Romney — has stuck together to refine it.’’

Patrick, who was in Washington to promote his memoir, spoke with Obama by phone on Wednesday and congratulated him on his plan to cut the nation’s deficit, said Brendan Ryan, a Patrick spokesman. Yesterday, Patrick met with David Plouffe, Obama’s senior adviser, at the White House and discussed the deficit plan with him, Ryan said.

Michael Levenson can be reached at mlevenson@globe.com.