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Senator Kennedys Big Government Approach to Health Care

Health care is the hot topic in Washington, and many plans are being proposed to fix Americas health care problems. The Affordable Health Choices Act by Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) will grant enormous power to Washington, putting bureaucrats in charge of health care decisions, and resulting in fewer, more expensive options.

An optimal health care system is getting the treatment you need, when you need it, yet Kennedy’s bill is wrought with new government plans, mandates, and regulations that will only serve to distance the doctor from the patient. There are four basic components of the bill that are problematic:

A public plan that would compete with private health insurance. This public insurance option would be a new government-run health plan offered by the government to compete with private insurance plans. But there is no such thing as a fair competition when the government is both a competitor, and the referee. In reality, the public plan would increasingly crowd out private health care options, paving the way to a government-controlled health care system.

Mandates on businesses and individuals. Employers would be required to offer a specific type of health insurance to their employees a mandate that would essentially be a tax on business, and would be shifted to employees in the form of reduced future wages or job losses. In fact, this mandate may result in some employers dropping their coverage, opting to pay the penalty fee than to buy government-specified insurance. Individuals who do not receive health insurance through their employer would be forced to buy a set of health benefits designed by the government (that may be expensive or undesirable).

Washington controlled health insurance. Currently, state governments have the power to regulate health insurance. States are very different and so are their problems. Having the states enact their own rules enables a better marketplace of ideas, as different states can experiment with different approaches. However, Kennedy’s bill would crush state level innovation.

Bureaucrat-controlled health benefits. The bill creates a Medical Advisory Council that would determine essential health benefits to be included in qualified health plans. In other words, Americans will no longer be able to decide what benefits they want the federal government will. Just as the federal government should not be in the car business, the federal government should not be in the health insurance business.

Health care can not be solved by a one-size-fits-all policy, and Americans and American businesses should not be forced to buy health insurance they do not want and lose their existing coverage. Instead, the government should work to expand options more access to doctors, and less interference from insurance companies and bureaucrats.  Check out Heritage’s latest research here to learn more.


North Korea has gone on the offensive with their nuclear arsenal.  Consistent with the highly belligerent posture North Korea has taken in the past three weeks, and the “rapid-fire series of provocations” it has initiated since the beginning of 2009, Pyongyang yet again chose to escalate its rhetoric, this time threatening to use its nuclear weapons in a “merciless offensive” if provoked.  Click here to read more, and watch the trailer below on Heritage’s documentary 33 Minutes to find out more about America’s need for missile defense.

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