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Town Halls 2.0: Why Protesting Obamacare Isn’t Enough

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Resist SocialismOriginally published at Human Events by Nicole Hoplin, Young America’s Foundation’s director of foundation relations

10/06/2009

The debate about health care is deeper than media reports suggest.  It is, simply stated, about government’s role in our lives and in the American economic system. 

The Obama administration is trying to do with health care what Jimmy Carter did with public education — install a bureaucratic, government-run, universal entitlement system.  

The Obama team is using its strategy from the election — special interests-driven media and campaign coffers packed with abundant funds — to drive its agenda forward. With groups including Health Care for America Now, the Service Employees International Union, United Auto Workers, and Organizing for America, websites are being created and promoted, congressional offices are being visited, neighborhoods are being canvassed, and busloads of “reform” proponents are being transported to rallies.  Those who oppose a government takeover of health care must act now.

It’s not enough to loudly protest our discontent over President Obama’s $1 trillion health care overhaul plan. It’s not enough to ask pointed questions of our lawmakers over a surtax imposed on those already paying more than their fair share of government’s costs to cover the new expenditures of this health legislation. Nor is it enough for us to share our worry with our neighbors and newspapers over the potential rationing of health care.

Those in opposition to a government takeover should not overlook one of the most effective ways to influence the policy process: financial giving.

President Obama knows the value of funding in giving his agenda an advantage. It’s why he says that he wants to end all ads against the universal health-care system he has proposed: “They start running ads.  This is what they always do.  We can’t let them do it again.  Not this time.  Not now.” 

Congressional liberals also are trying to squelch funding from those who oppose the government takeover of healthcare using their positions in leadership to launch investigations and threats. Insurance company Humana’s letter to Medicare Advantage enrollees educating them on the fact that benefits would be lost and suggesting they contact their elected officials to register their opposition to the proposed legislation enraged Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus.  Baucus immediately launched an investigation into the company’s marketing practices to intimidate and punish the company.  Regulators then imposed a gag order on all Medicare Advantage contractors to keep them from telling enrollees what has been reported by the director of the Congressional Budget Office — that the plans proposed by Baucus would in fact slash benefits and 2.7 million people would lose the coverage altogether.

Yet, it is precisely Humana’s activism which makes a difference in the debate. 

In Funding Fathers: The Unsung Heroes of the Conservative Movement, the stories of those who gave generously to support and advocate causes they believed in contain key lessons. John Engalitcheff’s support of the American Security Council Foundation in the early 1980s helped fund ads promoting a “peace through strength” strategy when dealing with the Soviet Union — an effective initiative Ronald Reagan used to bring down the Communist country but one that may not have been used had the ASCF not launched an issue campaign.

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