Coalition Against Rate Setting

Coalition Letter to President Trump on health care rate setting and price controls.

Read the letter here: CARS Letter (June 2020)

June 9, 2020

On behalf of millions of taxpayers and consumers across the United States, the Coalition Against Rate-Setting (CARS) urges you to oppose price controls on the healthcare system. For the past year, some members of Congress and some individuals in the Trump administration have repeatedly floated the idea of “fixing” the pressing problem of surprise medical billing through a “rate-setting” system. These fatally flawed proposals would have Washington, D.C. bureaucrats dictating to doctors the prices they should charge patients. Recently, Politico reported that the administration is considering a plan that would, “outlaw health care providers from putting patients on the hook for thousands of dollars in expenses — but without mandating how doctors and hospitals would recover their costs from insurers.”

While such reporting gives cause for cautious optimism, we recognize that much remains to be negotiated. As such, the Coalition would like to reiterate that any mandates or price controls would make surprise billing problems worse and disrupt care for millions of patients across the country. These effects would be particularly devastating as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to claim far too many lives. We therefore urge you to reject rate-setting and embrace market-oriented solutions to solve the pressing problem of surprise medical billing.

During the worst public health emergency in our lifetimes, millions of patients across the country have found themselves in emergency rooms and healthcare clinics. Many of them reasonably assumed their troubles would be over after being discharged, only to receive a surprise medical bill in the mail days or even weeks after being discharged. Each year, 1 in 7 patients in the U.S. receive these unwanted, unexpected expenses after being sent home by their doctors. This devastating problem stems from increasingly narrow health insurance networks which increasingly refuse to compensate attending doctors at in-network medical facilities. Far-reaching pieces of legislation such as the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare; signed into law in 2010) have simply made the
problem worse, and now, an estimated three-quarters of Obamacare plans feature narrow insurance networks.

Yet, despite federal interventions and regulations making the problem worse, some government officials want to double-down on bureaucratic control over the healthcare system. Members of Congress such as Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) have proposed rate-setting for doctors and repeatedly tried to insert this “fix” in Coronavirus-related relief legislation. Officials in the Trump administration have worked hard to get a thorough understanding of this issue and deliberate on their own plan to end unwanted medical expenses. But rate-setting would only make the problem worse, and lead to the widespread consolidation of hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices across the country. California has already tried this failed approach, implementing healthcare price controls in 2017. According to a 2019 American Journal of Managed Care study examining the law, rate-setting has led to healthcare facilities closing their doors and merging with other, larger practices. Doctors are even contemplating leaving California altogether.

On January 22, 14 advocacy groups and think-tanks formed CARS to warn lawmakers and the Trump administration about the myriad unintended consequences of rate-setting. CARS is now 34 groups strong, and its work has been cited extensively by national and state media. On April 28, CARS released a letter signed by more than 160 economists urging officials to reject healthcare price-controls.

CARS urges you to take these scholars’ arguments into account, and remain vigilant against federal overreach in the healthcare system. Millions of doctors are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic treating patients, and now would be the worst possible time to impose onerous price controls on them. Thank you for your time and consideration of this pressing issue.

Sincerely,

American Workers / Pension Crisis

“We, the National United Committee to Protect Pensions (NUCPP.org), which represents the elderly and retired, join the rest of The United States of America and the world in contending with the COVID-19 pandemic that has accelerated economic failure, loss of life, and the loss of wealth for many. As we monitor daily developments in our economy and government, we feel it is more important now than ever to stress the vital  need to resolve the imminent pension crisis ….”

READ THE NUCPP LETTER HERE: 2020 Pension Crisis Letter

 

Stamp Out Cancer: CAR-T Cancer Therapy

“We are closer than ever to curing cancer thanks to America’s scientists, medical professionals and biopharmaceutical entrepreneurs. Every day, medical innovation and breakthroughs are cracking the code to beating cancer. One of the most exciting therapies available is an immunotherapy called chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, or CAR-T therapy.”

  • Karen Kerrigan, the president and CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council

Members of Congress urge CMS to offer cancer treatment  – CAR T-Cell Therapy – to patients in Medicare: CAR T Cell Therapy Letter Stamp Out Cancer

Google v. Oracle

The Supreme Court is scheduled to review a massive civil lawsuit in Google v. Oracle. In that case, Google copied a large portion of Oracle’s Java software. Ignoring Oracle’s copyright claim over Java, Google allegedly stole thousands of lines of code from the program. The search engine company knowingly replicated precise versions of Oracle’s software, but only after initial licensing negotiations between the companies broke down.

Soon, the highest court in the land will decide whether Google’s actions did indeed constitute theft — as the lower courts ruled — or merely an expression of fair use. The case carries substantial repercussions; if the Supreme Court rules for Google, it will justify the company’s presumptive misuse of power. But more than that, it will incentive Google to act in a similar abusive fashion with future business partners.

Did Congress Use ‘Must Pass’ Legislation to Stick It to a Pentagon Official?

Our national defense and military readiness depend on keeping our elected officials and those under their purview accountable to the American people. Much is at stake… and much is changing. With the USSF, we’ll have a new, sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces expected to maintain military operations in outer space. Let’s hope that Members of Congress are above making petty grievances part of the legislative process. 

To borrow the famous line from James Tiberius Kirk, we are truly going boldly “where no man has gone before.” We need political leadership to get us all there safely.

America First on 5G Technology

Dear Chairman Pai,

We, the undersigned organizations promoting free markets and conservative policy, applaud your efforts at making more mid-band spectrum available to keep the United States competitive with, and leading, China on 5G. The administration’s action and the recent FCC May open-meeting agenda demonstrate your keen understanding of this issue. The proper government/private-sector balance will allow competition, innovation, and continued economic prosperity.

No philosophy in human history has created more opportunity for more people than free enterprise. Therefore, we know that the federal government must not impede innovation but rather work quickly to roll out spectrum and technologies that will drive the U.S. ahead of China in 5G. The administration’s America First economic agenda has prioritized regulatory reform, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and competition with China – bringing more mid-band spectrum to market complements and expands the President’s policy agenda. More mid-band spectrum means more innovation, which means more growth and opportunity.

Our concern is simple – certain agencies may do the ‘bureaucratic slow-walk’ vis-à-vis pending license proceedings and may pursue other regulatory mischief to impede new uses of spectrum. Any bureaucratic or competitive interference that slows the introduction of more spectrum to the market will stifle innovation and hurt the economy.

We implore you – as you continue to drive America’s global leadership in 5G forward – to make as many decisions as you can as quickly as possible, according to the authority and statutes governing your office.

We support your leadership in facilitating America’s superiority in 5G Technology, including pushing more mid-band spectrum into the marketplace; updating infrastructure policy; and modernizing outdated regulations. 5G networking is the fifth generation of wireless technology. An efficient deployment of 5G will lead to greater faster data speeds of data, a more responsive networks, and the ability to connect more devices simultaneously.

We cannot allow China to race ahead in 5G. Reports indicate that the U.S. and China are now tied. Again, this progress is thanks to your leadership and the FCC’s 5G fast Plan, in this critical digital race. We urge you to move forward and approve new applications to keep pace with China’s superior speed of deployment.

American companies pushing for the release of mid-band spectrum are strengthening our economy by increasing U.S. competitiveness and enabling the American entrepreneurial spirit to be unleashed on the world economic stage.

We urge you to continue to make progress and not be slowed by other agencies or agendas on this matter.

SEE LETTER & COALITION MEMBERS HERE5G Coalition Letter to The Honorable Ajit Pai

Coalition Letter to Secretary Mnuchin

Secretary Mnuchin Insurance Tax-Haven Loophole Letter

Dear Secretary Mnuchin,

We, the undersigned organizations promoting free markets and conservative policy, urge you to keep your commitments of simplifying the tax code and providing relief to all individuals and businesses at the forefront of future tax reform discussions. This means guaranteeing that loopholes, particularly the insurance tax-haven loophole, are not resurrected at the expense of reduced income-tax rates.

As advocates for free enterprise, we work to ease the tax burden that stifles economic growth and harms the American people. We commend you for standing firm on the principle of lower taxes for all Americans during the formation and public discussion over the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The great success of tax reform is due, in part, to Congress and the administration nixing most tax exemptions for lower rates across the board. Thanks to your leadership, all Americans – from single, blue-collar mothers to America’s most successful entrepreneurs – have benefited from the most comprehensive tax relief package since 1986.

However, it has come to our attention that certain groups are now, whether intentionally or not, working to undermine your historic achievement. These groups are lobbying to bring back many of the special-interest loopholes the administration eliminated as a means of reducing individual and corporate income tax brackets. One of the most egregious examples is the mounting pressure from foreign-owned/foreign-based insurance companies to secure a competitive advantage over U.S. based companies. These foreign-based entities want to shift billions of dollars offshore without incurring U.S. tax.

These companies are advocating for the resurrection of the insurance tax-haven loophole–a provision that would weaken the American economy by reducing U.S. competitiveness and reinstituting a de facto regulatory scheme that hurts American businesses.

When the tax-haven loophole existed, foreign companies were not only permitted but incentivized to transfer their assets overseas to clear themselves of U.S. tax liabilities. The loophole created a crony mechanism that granted these companies a government-protected advantage over their American competitors. Several dozen U.S. companies moved overseas, in large part, because of the preferential treatment this provision gave their foreign competitors. Its elimination has already succeeded in bringing some of these companies back home.

Working families, startups, and other corporations were willing to abandon narrow loopholes for broader reform of lower rates and a simplified tax code. And it worked. The American economy is growing again.

We urge you to remain vigilant in opposing corporate cronyism.

Respectfully,

Andrew Langer, Institute for Liberty

George Landrith, Frontiers of Freedom

Kevin Kearns, U.S. Business and Industry Council

Jerry Rogers, Capitol Allies

Judson Phillips, Tea Party Nation

Tom Zawistowski, We the People Convention

Seton Motley, Less Government

Chuck Muth, Citizen Outreach

Peter Ferrara, National Tax-Limitation Committee

Rick Manning, Americans for Limited Government

Ed Martin, Phyllis Schlafly Eagles

Letter Text here: Secretary Mnuchin Insurance Tax-Haven Loophole Letter

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) brings U.S. trade policy into the 21st Century

Coalition Letter to the President on the USMCA Trade Agreement

Dear Mr. President:

The recent signing of a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico is a significant breakthrough for free trade and American prosperity. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) brings U.S. trade policy into the 21st Century by modernizing trade rules in effect since 1994, and the USMCA is an important win for American workers.

With the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement now finalized, Congress has the opportunity to further protect American workers and advance free trade – not just here in the United States but around the globe as well.

We, the undersigned organizations promoting free markets and conservative policy, support exempting Canada and Mexico – two countries that now have a proven track record of cooperating with the new administration – from steel and aluminum tariffs. Such policy will incentivize these entities to continue working with the White House on its America First agenda, all while relieving financial pressure on American manufacturers who depend on these critical materials. More, these exemptions will provide relief for other industries ‘whacked’ by retaliatory tariffs. From automobile manufacturers to beermakers, millions of workers will benefit while the American economy continues to expand.

Absolutely, and perhaps most significantly, our military depends on aluminum and steel to defend the nation. Since World War II – for more than seventy years – American tanks, planes, and ships have been built with aluminum produced by our allies like Canada. Tariffs and trade barriers hurt the American economy, stifle opportunities for workers, and threaten U.S. Military Readiness. Exempting Canada and Mexico from these tariffs is good policy, and necessary for a wholly successful agreement.

In the case of the new trade pact, your Administration has been successful in forging a fairer and better alliance between Canada and Mexico. Congress now has the ability to turbo-charge the agreement, and in so doing helping the American economy, future diplomacy, hardworking taxpayers and workers, and our Armed Forces – a ‘free trade trifecta’.

We urge Congress to take the right steps to lift these tariffs. The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement marks an important step forward for North American trade relations. Once it’s done, America and her allies will be able to focus attention on the principal threats to free trade.

We urge such action immediately.

 

Most respectfully,

 

Andrew Langer – President, Institute for Liberty (IFL)

Matthew Kandrach – President, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy (CASE)

Lew Uhler – President, The National Tax Limitation Committee (NTLC)

Jerry Rogers – President, Capitol Allies (CapAllies)

Chuck Muth – President, Citizen Outreach

 

Support H.R. 4537

Dear Leader McConnell and Senator Crapo:

We, the undersigned organizations dedicated to limited government and constitutional principles, are writing to ask that you act on H.R. 4537, the International Insurance Standards Act. This legislation has broad bipartisan support and passed the House unanimously. The International Insurance Standards Act would protect and preserve state-based insurance regulation from inappropriate foreign influence, create more transparency and accountability for US federal participants at the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and strengthen US negotiators’ position in the international insurance negotiation process, benefiting American policyholders, workers, and business.

The American insurance model is based upon the concept of federalism. Each state regulates and decides which rules should apply within their boundaries. This model of insurance regulation has served our nation’s consumers, markets, and industry for over 150 years. But the American model has come under threat from heavy-handed European bureaucrats seeking to impose their burdensome red tape on the US insurance industry thus making our insurance industry less competitive abroad and negatively impacting the protection of US insurance policyholders.

We strongly support the separation of powers detailed in the U.S. Constitution. The ongoing regulatory standard-setting at the IAIS is a threat to both the states’ authority to regulate the insurance industry and a threat to Congress’ authority under Article I to “regulate commerce with foreign Nations…”. We believe that HR 4537 will begin to help restore some of these important principles.

Specifically, the legislation requires that the US system of insurance regulation be formally recognized in any international insurance agreement before our federal participants in the negotiations can support the agreement. By enacting this requirement and the rest of the International Insurance Standards Act, you will ensure that changes to the American insurance model come from state insurance commissioners or Congress, not from global mandates embedded within an international agreement negotiated by an executive branch appointee.

As we noted, this bill has strong bipartisan support and should be enacted before the end of the year. Thankfully, HR 4537 was also included in a broader Senate bill – S. 488 (JOBS Act 3.0) that is eligible for expedited Senate floor consideration. This legislation passed the House by a vote of 406-4 in July of this year and now awaits a full vote by the Senate. We strongly urge you to bring S. 488, as exactly passed by the House, before the entire US Senate, at the earliest available opportunity. The American system of insurance has served the nation well and should not be threatened by European bureaucrats who fail to understand or appreciate basic concepts of federalism and who seek to make our markets less competitive. We urge quick passage of this important legislation.  October 9, 2018