Your Inside View to the Strategies and
Activities of the Conservative Movement in Washington
Activities at the October 5 Stanton foreign affairs meeting chaired by Amy Moritz of The National Center for Public Policy Research
Ambassador Maleeha Lohdi of Pakistan reviewed U.S.-Pakistan relations, focusing particularly on U.S.-Pakistan cooperation during the Afghanistan war and on an effort presently being spearheaded by Senator Hank Brown (R-CO) to amend the 1985 Pressler Amendment so that the United States might 1) increase anti-terrorism and anti-narcotics trafficking cooperation and 2) release $368 million worth of impounded low-tech U.S. military equipment Pakistan purchased and paid for in 1990. The Pressler Amendment was designed to retard development of nuclear weapons by Pakistan and India, but its provisions cover only Pakistan. "You sanctioned us whereas you left India off the hook," said Ambassador Lohdi, "nonetheless, we respected our relationship." The Ambassador described how Pakistan has responded to U.S. calls for support, voting with the U.S. in the United Nations far more than India and responding to U.S. calls for international peacekeeping troops to such a degree that Pakistan is now the #2 contributing nation of peacekeeping troops and was the nation suffering the highest amount of peacekeeper casualties in the U.S.-led operation in Somalia. "The object of the Pressler Amendment may have been noble," the Ambassador continued, "but it has ended up as an impediment to nuclear non-proliferation." The Ambassador said Pakistan has "the technical capability to produce a nuclear weapon" but has not done so because "we wanted to demonstrate responsibility."
Activities at the October 11 and 4 Wednesday Strategy Lunches chaired by Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation and House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX).
Rep. John Shaddegg (R-AZ) reported on his Endangered Species Recovery and Conservation Incentive Act (H.R. 2364), saying that the Endangered Species Act as currently constituted poisons the atmosphere between people and species and creates the concept of "shoot, shovel and shut up." His bill is an alternative: a 100% incentive-based approach which provides tax benefits to Americans who protect endangered species on their property. The bill, he said, would protect both species and small property owners, not one at the expense of the other. Contact Jason Whiting at 202/225-3361.
Rep. David McIntosh (R-IN) reviewed the intense opposition federally-funded groups are mounting to the House proposal, passed as part of the Treasury Appropriations bill and currently in conference committee, to ban giving federal grants to any group that spends more than 5% of its resources on lobbying the Congress. McIntosh reasserted his view that federal grants should be used for charitable work, not lobbying, and distributed a two-page statement and several news articles. Contact Rep. McIntosh via Chris Jones at 202/225-3021.
Tom Edmonds, former President of the American Association of Political Consultants, analyzed Senator John McCain (R-AZ)'s campaign finance reform bill (S. 1219), saying the bill "cripples everybody else but leaves organized labor strong" and "it makes sure the Socialist Party candidate has as much money as the Republican candidate." Edmonds also called provisions that TV stations would have to give free air time to candidates "ridiculous." Contact Tom Edmonds at 202/371-0110.
The Truth About Medicare Reform
The Coalition for Medicare Choices, a group of national health care experts who appear frequently on talk radio, released on October 16 a statement on the current Medicare reform debate: "'The Medicare program is clearly unsustainable in its present form (Medicare Trustees Report, April 1995). The Trustees are right. Either Medicare will be transformed into something better, or it will sink like the Titanic, to be swallowed in a sea of government red ink in 7 years. The Medicare Trustees say that we must reform the system. Yet President Clinton attacks the Republican plan to rescue seniors health care and reform Medicare by calling it 'morally questionable.' What's morally questionable is to leave the current failed system sailing toward disaster. What's morally questionable is to restrict choices and give seniors a backward, antiquated relic of state-of-the-art, 1965 medicine.
Medicare needs a whole new approach -- one that relies on consumer vigilance, not government coercion, to control costs. One that gives seniors the power over their own health care decisions.
The Key Is Choice
Seniors must be free to choose the health care plans they want, not the one some bureaucrat thinks you should have. Under the Republican plan, seniors can still get standard Medicare. But seniors would also be free to select a Medical Savings Account, managed care or some other type of health care plan that better suits individual needs.
Medicare Fraud As High As $30 Billion A Year
The program has as $30 billion in fraud, and yet Medicare's costs are rising by more than 10% a year (source: National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association). That's a government program behaving as usual. It relies on a centralized command-and-control system to seek out waste and abuse, rather than relying on the competitive power of the market. It tries to be everywhere at once, and it is getting us nowhere.
At the same time, employer premium costs fell, on average, 1.1% in 1994. Managed care premiums are realizing a predicted decline of 1.2% for 1995. This leaves seniors and the disabled as the ones who have to ride the government health-care cost escalator. The average amount Medicare beneficiaries spend from their own pockets has been rising by 10% a year for the last 20 years.
Medicare costs as much as a Cadillac but rides like a bicycle.
The Republicans want to reverse that equation so seniors can choose the best care at the best price.
Two of the nation's top health-care experts are available for interviews on Medicare reform: Pam Bailey, President of the Health Care Leadership Council and a member of the Coalition to Save Medicare (a group dedicated to preserving, strengthening and simplifying Medicare for current and future generations of seniors) and Peter Ferrara, Senior Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis. Contact the Health Care Leadership Council at 202/347-5731 and the National Center for Policy Analysis at 202/628-6671.
Scoop is published by The National Center for Public Policy Research to provide information about the activities of the conservative movement. Coverage of a meeting or statement in Scoop does not imply endorsement by The National Center for Public Policy Research. © 1995 The National Center for Public Policy Research.