HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Opposition to Health Care Reform

Well, that didn't take long. reports on the group - Conservatives for Patients Rights -- and their media offensive against government-run health care.  Jonathan Martin writes,

Firing some of the first shots in the coming showdown over health care, a conservative group led by the former owner of the Hospital Corporation of America is beginning a multimillion-dollar campaign Tuesday in opposition to government-run coverage.

Conservatives for Patients Rights is going on TV, radio and the Web in the same week President Barack Obama hosts a health care summit at the White House. The group’s leader, Richard Scott, is hoping a pro-free-market message will rally the right to join the fray on what may be the most hard-fought policy battle in the first year of the new administration.

“If we have more government involvement we’re going to have dramatically worse health care,” said Scott, the wealthy health care executive who is overseeing the effort and seeding it with $5 million of his own cash.  Scott, a major GOP donor, is pushing for four principles to any health care reform package: individual choice, competition between carriers, giving patients’ ownership over their own coverage and rewarding those who make healthy lifestyle choices.  . . .

“Imagine waking up one day and all your medical decisions are made by a central national board,” Scott says in the radio ad. “Bureaucrats decide the treatments you receive, the drugs you take, even the doctors you see.”  He goes on to raise the prospect of “national boards” and “waiting lists” as in the nationalized systems of Great Britain and Canada. “That’s what some in Washington mean by reform,” Scott says in the spot. 

Some on the left have already formed their own group, Health Care for America Now, a coalition to push for guaranteed health care for all Americans. The group has a $35 million budget this year and is planning on spending half of that on advertising in addition to holding grass-roots events in Washington, and in the districts of key members of Congress. . . .

Obama already has sought to rebut criticism that he wants a government takeover of health care by outlining eight principles of any overhaul, including letting patients stick with their own doctors and health care plans, reducing insurance premiums and guaranteeing that Americans will have a choice of health plans and physicians.  Beyond that, the Obama administration has signaled that it will push back hard on conservatives who try to label Obama’s efforts as “socialized medicine” or a massive government takeover of day-to-day health decisions. In his radio address Saturday, Obama said he’s ready for a fight against anyone who tries to block his efforts to remake health care and other programs. . . .

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