Free Our Health Care Now! Update

Dear Friends -

The Fight Begins Again! Thank you for your continued support of the Free Our Health Care NOW! petition. With more than 1.33 million signatures, your petition remains the strongest voice opposing government-run health care!

Ad Execs May Win Awards, but Not Votes. The recent White House media blitz, a tactic deployed with great effect during the election, is the Obama Administration's attempt to sell health reform the way that Madison Avenue sells soap! The issue of health care is personal and a glitzy marketing campaign isn't going to convince any of us to relinquish control over our family's

Hillary's Back? Against all odds, Hillary Clinton - or, at least, Hillary's health care proposals-have appeared in the Senate's most recent round of proposed health care reform legislation. During the Democratic presidential primaries, Clinton supported an individual mandate which would require all Americans to purchase health insurance. Barrack Obama criticized the proposal, saying, "Hillary's health care plan forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can't afford it...and you pay a penalty if you don't."

Amazingly, despite the fact that Obama is in the White House and Clinton is in the State Department, Hillary's individual mandate is now in the Senate. Of course, that's not all that's in the Baucus Plan. Like other versions of ObamaCare, the Baucus Plan proposes to:

  • Impose an Individual Mandate. All Americans will be required to purchase health insurance designed by special interests, lobbyists and Congress. Americans who elect not to fall in line will face a penalty of up to $3,800.
  • Impose a De Facto Employer Mandate. Although not described as an employer mandate in the legislation, the Baucus Plan will require employers with more than 50 employees to pay a $400 tax for each full-time uninsured employee.
  • Mandate a 'Healthy' Lifestyle. The Baucus plan will provide Medicaid and Medicare patients with incentives for healthy living, as defined by the federal government. Of course, this means that the federal government would directly encourage and discourage American lifestyle choices.
  • Instruct Doctors on Best Practices. Under the guise of encouraging cost savings, the Baucus Plan proposes to create an "Innovation Center" which will instruct doctors as to how they should work together in the treatment of their patients.
  • Punish Hospitals for Readmitted Patients. In an effort to control cost and ensure quality, the Baucus Plan proposes to pay hospitals 20% less if a patient is readmitted to the hospital. Of course, this proposal will instead encourage hospitals to keep patients longer and discourage patients from returning for care after they are released.
  • Tax Expensive Plans. The Baucus Plan will impose a 35% excise tax on insurance which exceeds $8,000 for individuals or $21,000 for families.
  • Ignore Tort Reform. Despite the widespread belief among the American public and the medical community that tort reform would save billions of dollars and reduce the practice of defensive medicine, the Baucus Plan addresses the subject of tort reform only long enough to meekly express concern through a "Sense of the Senate" resolution.
  • Undermine Health Savings Accounts (HSA). The Baucus Plan would limit the amount that employers and employees can contribute to HSAs. Moreover, the Plan would double the tax penalty on individuals who withdraw HSA funds for non-medical expenses.
  • Deplete Medicare. Millions of America's senior citizens will see a significant reduction in the quality of their health care coverage. Roughly $500 billion in Medicare will be transferred to younger Americans and Medicare Advantage will be destroyed completely.
  • Push Americans to Public Insurance. The Baucus Plan will cause millions of families to move from private coverage - where they currently enjoy broad access - to Medicaid and S-CHIP - where they will enjoy limited access. Moreover, millions more will lose their employment-based private coverage and instead obtain insurance in an artificial market (an "Exchange") in which insurers have perverse incentives to underprovide to the sickest patients.

Who Pays the Check? After months of President Obama's gilded health care rhetoric, last week Senator Baucus presented Congress with the check. While it's not surprising that Congress would shy away from the bill, it is surprising that some of the loudest criticisms about cost have come from Senate Democrats.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR.) balked at the Baucus Plan's individual mandate and its effect on most Americans. "That's a real hit on middle-class families," Wyden disapprovingly observed. Meanwhile, Senator John Kerry (D-MA.) also commented on new taxes, saying, "There may be a better way to find that revenue...We are going to have a tug of war."

It Seems Just Like Yesterday. Many Americans still remember when they heard Candidate Obama promise the following, as he did on July 30, 2008, in Springfield, Missouri:

Let me be absolutely clear: if you are a working family making less than $250,000 a year you will not see your taxes go up. Not your capital gains tax, not your payroll tax, not your income tax, no tax. Your taxes will not go up.

The Fight Continues! Even as President Obama continues his health care media blitz, we are fighting back as this summary of our media work attests. To continue this fight, however, we need your continued support!

The success of the Free Our Health Care NOW! petition demonstrates that committed, motivated Americans can effectively fight for their health care.

Give $5 or $10 whatever you can, by clicking on "Help Keep The Drive Alive!" to help us continue this battle! Or mail your check to the National Center for Policy Analysis, P.O. Box 650098, Dallas, TX 75265-0098.

Here's how you can stay involved:

  • Tell your friends who have not signed to sign the Free Our Health Care NOW! petition. Help us reach 1.5 million to update the number for the Leadership. Our allies in Congress regularly point to the petition as a demonstration of America's distrust of ObamaCare. We need to help them continue to fight for good policy ideas!
  • Educate yourself and others. To find out more about how ObamaCare threatens the health of this country and to learn more about alternative solutions, please see:

Thank you again for your support of the "Free Our Health Care NOW!" and for fighting against government-run health care.

Jeanette Nordstrom
National Center for Policy Analysis

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