Opponents of runaway government spending have staged Boston Tea Party-inspired protests across the country since April to show their displeasure with what they see as an out-of-touch presidential administration.
On June 11, protestors hit the streets of Green Bay, Wisconsin, where more than 1,000 rallied to express their dissatisfaction with the Obama administration’s plans for a government-backed health care system. Obama was visiting the city to promote his plan.
“It is unprecedented for free choice advocates to take to the streets like this,” said Greg Scandlen, director of Consumers for Health Care Choices at The Heartland Institute. “They clearly feel that they are not being well represented in Congress and are being ignored in the media.
“There are plenty of ways to reform health care without invoking big-government dictates,” said Scandlen. “Consumer-driven care has been proven to lower costs and improve patient care, but that isn’t even on the table in Washington. The advocates of Big Government reform are deliberately ignoring anything that might actually work because their primary agenda is to grow government at any cost.”
‘Great Grassroots Effort’
Obama made the stop in Green Bay while on his way to Chicago to address the American Medical Association. In his speech to the AMA, the president stressed the need for reform but proposed even greater government involvement, outlining his plans to create a government-run health insurer.
“The protest was a great grassroots effort to free health care from government control in Wisconsin,” said John R. Graham, director of health care studies for the Pacific Research Institute. “The American Medical Association meeting responded to the president by booing his unwillingness to put a stop to the medical-malpractice lottery.
“However, if the doctors want to live up to their professional commitments, they need to move beyond their parochial issues and put patients first, instead of the government,” Graham continued. “Medicare and Medicaid have underpaid doctors for years, so I was disappointed not to hear a ringing rejection of a so-called ‘public option’ for health insurance by the AMA.”
Results Depend on Effort
As to whether the protests will have an impact, one health care policy analyst says it will depend on the overall effort.
“It is going to require an outpouring of similar sentiments across the nation on the part of millions of Americans in order to stop the momentum for government-run health care,” said Paul Gessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation.
“Of course these protests can only be one part of the plan,” Gessing continued. “Efforts need to be made to lobby elected officials and to clearly show our elected officials that public support for additional government intervention in the health care sector is not politically popular.”
Aricka Flowers ([email protected]) writes from Chicago.