IWV President & CEO Heather Higgins' Remarks to CPAC Panel on ObamaCare
Below is a paraphrase of remarks given by Heather Higgins February 10, 2012 at a CPAC panel entitled, “Why ObamaCare Must Be Repealed.”
The panel was hosted by the Heritage Foundation and moderated by Nina Owcharenko, director of Heritage’s Center for Health Policy Studies.
The other panelists were: Christie Herrera, director of the Health and Human Services task force of the American Legislative Exchange Council; Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute; Chuck Donovan, president of the Susan B. Anthony List Education Fund; and Dr. Marci Cook, an OB-GYN and a member of Docs 4 Patient Care.
To tell you a little about myself, I have no background in health policy. But I dropped everything else and became involved in early 2009 when ObamaCare entered the scene.
I’m chairman of the Independent Women’s Forum, and president and CEO of Independent Women’s Voice, the (c)4 that complements the work of IWF. Until 2009, the (c)4 wasn’t very active, but it became a vessel for several projects to push back on health care.
We got involved in the Scott Brown race in Massachusetts, when no other political consultants saw the value in it, because we wanted to make this race about health care, to send a message to Washington and get that 41st vote on health care. So IWV did the only independent expenditure that was about health care in that race. Continuing into 2010, we were busy doing polling, making phone calls, running radio ads, doing targeted tele-townhalls in key districts, and launching seven Web sites focused on target audiences.
In the 2010 elections, we again worked to make health care a top three issue, so that the candidates who were elected would have a mandate to repeal ObamaCare. We launched the Repeal Pledge because we wanted a way to hold policymakers and candidates accountable to the repeal effort. We created two TV ads featuring doctors who explained the harm that ObamaCare would do to our country. We made robocalls and invested in independent expenditures. We also launched HealthCareLawsuits.org to track the legal challenges to ObamaCare and get the public behind those lawsuits. We built SavingOurHealthCare.org as a one-stop-shop on all things health care, so that we could encourage folks to find all the great groups who are out there doing great health policy work and activism and get them to work together. At SavingOurHealthCare.org, we’ve hosted several projects, currently including a petition to protect religious freedom from ObamaCare’s most recent bullying decree that violates the religious conscience of employers by requiring them to provide birth control coverage.
In 2011, we started and now run the Repeal Coalition, which is an inside-outside coalition of legislators and outside groups to work to repeal ObamaCare.
Keeping our eye on the Supreme Court, we went into the Ohio ballot initiative to convince voters to vote to block ObamaCare’s individual mandate and send a message to the Supreme Court that there’s still strong public opposition to law’s unconstitutional individual mandate. Voters in Ohio voted 2 to 1 for health care freedom, and this was in the face of huge turnout from voters on the left, because of a union measure on the ballot that went the other way. So even union voters voted against ObamaCare’s mandate. We know it’s important to keep that needle of public opinion strongly on our side.
Nationally, the polls are largely split right now, with Kaiser reporting 44 to 37 that people favor repeal. Rasmussen has it at 54 to 41, and Gallup says 47 to 42. The individual mandate is by far the law’s most unpopular piece. Two thirds of people oppose it. But there are other individual provisions of the law that when isolated from cost and other implications sound nice and find more public support. Fifty-five percent of people favor keeping children on their parents’ insurance until age 26. The statewide exchanges have a 59 percent favorability rating. And the employer mandates are favored by 53 percent.
Clearly, we have an important task ahead in 2012 in continuing to fight back against this law. And there is so much that you can do to help us in this effort. I encourage you all to go to TheRepealPledge.com and sign the pledge, and ask your federal and state candidates and policymakers to do the same. And if there’s anyone here from New Jersey, you can give Chris Christie hell for not yet signing NJ on to the Florida case now in the Supreme Court. You can encourage your state legislators not to set up exchanges, which will ultimately bureaucratically concentrate power in handful of big insurance companies and their cronies in government, and run the little guys out of business.
You can suggest hearing topics or town hall topics to your legislators, find and distribute briefing materials on the harms of ObamaCare or create your own. You can host debates, and can bring in doctors, especially good, market-minded doctors from groups like Docs 4 Patient Care or the Benjamin Rush Society, which is essentially a Federalist Society for doctors.
You can encourage your state to adopt the Health Care Freedom Act, either as a statute or constitutional amendment – especially if you are from one of the states with referenda on the 2012 ballot. Those states are Florida, Alabama, Montana and Wyoming.
And support good legislation at the federal level. Right now, for example, Congressman Roe has introduced HR 452, the Medicare Decisions and Accountability Act, that would repeal the IPAB, ObamaCare’s Medicare rationing board. SavingOurHealthCare.org tries to keep a current list of all relevant legislation so you can see what’s being proposed.
If you are 60-plus, join the 60 Plus Association! Their voice is needed to push back against the AARP and represent the real interests of seniors in health care policy. If you are a member of a church, the Family Research Council is working to get churches to work together and organize rallies and vigils and stand up for religious freedom under assault from ObamaCare.
If you believe ObamaCare is unconstitutional, support the Becket Fund, which is doing great work to support the lawsuits against the law’s overreach of power.
We need rallies; we need vigils, especially on March 26, 27, and 28 when the Supreme Court will be hearing the oral arguments. You better believe the left will be out there with their sob stories, so we need to send a message that, for the sake of freedom and genuine quality medical care, Americans overwhelmingly want to see the Court strike it down.
There are many groups who, like Independent Women’s Voice, are working hard to fight back against ObamaCare and work toward repeal. Support them. Because ultimately our ability to succeed depends on formulating, passing, and implementing policies that devolve power from DC through states and municipalities, into the hands of American families and entrepreneurs who made this country a “City on a Hill” and can do so once again if only we let them.