Town Halls 2.0: Why Protesting Obamacare Isn't Enough

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, which is affiliated with the Democratic National Committee, 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. 

The New York Times reported that Obama-backers have spent more than $24 million on national television ads whereas those who oppose a government takeover of health care have spent only $9 million.  Let us not forget that whoever defines the debate will win it!

George Soros, one of Barack Obama’s chief campaign financiers, has opened his pocketbook to support the reform efforts.  His Center for American Progress and, two organizations which have received substantial contributions from Soros, sit on the steering committee for Health Care for American Now.  Soros, who’s described as a “philosopher” and a “guru” by our mainstream media, will not be scrutinized for his financial involvement in this effort.  But any conservative who might dare do the same for our side will not be so fortunate.  Yet, the stakes are far too great to worry about judgments made by the mainstream media.

Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, Freedom Works, Americans for Prosperity, and Right Principles are just a few of the many organizations working to inform Americans about yet another government takeover of private industry. It is worth your time to consider making a financial sacrifice to one of the many organizations promoting the ideas you hold.

Attending a town hall forum to voice dissent makes the news, and it has been effective.  But it is not enough. Stepping forward with financial resources, whether large or small, has been proven through history to be an important component to any cause’s success or failure.