The Heritage Foundation issued a scathing retort Wednesday to President Obama’s claim that it originated one of the ideas in the recently enacted healthcare bill.
Heritage President Ed Feulner clearly and forcefully distanced the organization from the President’s healthcare initiative.
“Let’s be very clear,” Dr. Feulner wrote for The Heritage Foundation. “We oppose this new law because it is a radical new intrusion into the daily lives of all Americans and a massive takeover of one-sixth of the U.S. economy.”
President Obama mentioned The Heritage Foundation in an interview Wednesday with NBC’s “Today Show” host Matt Lauer. Lauer asked Obama how he thought the healthcare bill would be good for America when every single Republican voted in opposition to it, and 50% of Americans did not want it.
The President responded that Republicans made a calculated effort to oppose the legislation in spite of “all sorts of Republican ideas” being incorporated into the bill.
“A lot of commentators have said this is sort of similar to the bill that Mitt Romney—the Republican governor and now presidential candidate—passed in Massachusetts,” Obama told Lauer.
“A lot of the ideas in terms of the exchange—just being able to pool and improve the purchasing power of individuals in the insurance market—that [idea] originated from The Heritage Foundation,” the President stated.
Feulner wrote in response to the President’s claim: “We take great exception to this misuse of our work and abuse of our name.”
“The President knows full well—or he ought to learn before he speaks—that the exchanges we and most others support are very different from those in his package,” Feulner stated. He added that the “exchanges” which Heritage supports are rooted in the free market, as opposed to Obama’s “exchanges” which are simply ways for him to regulate the health industry.
“Moreover, we completely disagree that President Obama’s law improves the purchasing power of individuals in the insurance market,” Feulner stated. “On the contrary, it will create a staggeringly complex and costly insurance system that will drive up premiums for Americans.”
President Obama argued that the bill was not a sweeping liberal transformation of healthcare, but rather a centrist piece of legislation containing Republican principles. Obama told NBC that “any objective observer” who reviewed the bill would find it a “middle-of-the-road, centrist approach to providing coverage to people, and making sure that we are also reducing costs.”
“I am frustrated that Republicans, who I think had an opportunity to help shake this bill, declined that opportunity,” the President stated. “The overall architecture of it was actually something that was right down the middle.”
However, Feulner believes otherwise. “President Obama is still struggling to sell the American people on a bill that he and his party rammed through passage by a narrow margin in the face of bipartisan opposition,” he stated. This, he added, makes for a “sign of desperation.”
“The President has made a habit of using conservative talking points when trying to sell a liberal ideology because he knows that this is a center-right country that rejects his agenda when articulated honestly,” Feulner said.
Feulner said that the bill is “financially unsustainable” and will eventually lead to rationing of healthcare and government takeover of the health industry. “We deplore these outcomes and are committed to making the intellectual case for this law’s repeal,” he stated.
As for the bill’s mandate that 16,000 new IRS agents be hired to enforce the legislation, as well as the raising of premiums, taxes and costs, Feulner stated that “these are not ideas Heritage has ever, or would ever, support.”
“Had President Obama limited his bill to centrist elements, he would have won wide bipartisan support for effective reform both within Congress and among the American people,” Feulner said. “He would not need to misrepresent Heritage policies and positions in an attempt to give his radical health plan the patina of respectability.”