Radical Liberals Running in Maricopa County

Most voters believe the role of an elected prosecutor, sheriff, or elections official, is to enforce the laws on the books. Prosecutors and Executive and Administrative offices always have some discretion in how they run their offices according to law, but they recognize the constitutional limits of their office. The people and their elected legislators write the laws. County officials administer them.

Events across the country have shown that when liberal activists take control of prosecution or administration of law, they will overstep their bounds with little regard for facts and the law.

Maricopa County is a battleground for control of the US Senate and for the Presidency. What many Arizona voters may not realize is that it is also a battle for control of the Arizona legislature and many important county offices.

Voters in Maricopa County elected Adrian Fontes after a failed Presidential preference election in 2016. After 20+ years of non-partisan elections, Helen Purcell’s office did not foresee record voter turnout in 2016. Long lines and understaffed polls, created a backlash and voters held her office accountable. They replaced her non-partisan and administration approach with Adrian Fontes, a man who is partisan, activist, and holds dissenters in low regard, telling one voter to Go F-yourself!. During this election year alone, Fontes’ partisan and activist efforts have been slapped down twice by the courts.

When the typically left leaning Arizona Republic posts Sunday news about Fontes failures, you hope that Independent and Republican voters will get the message.

For County Attorney, Allister Adel faces Liberal activist Julie Gunningle. Who is Gunnigle? Well, for starters, read her Twitter page. She is the type of activist prosecutor that would be a dream for outside groups backed by George Soros. She calls the County Attorney and her office racists without evidence, and vows to be an “anti-racist” activist. She supports Sanctuary City Policies and she is rabidly pro-abortion, not wanting to enforce existing Arizona laws.

If conservatives need motivation to defeat Julie Gunnigle, look at her recent tweets:  Gunnigle calls for the defunding of the Phoenix Police during the riots.

For other radical progressive views see her other tweets.

Gunnigle’s McCarthyism crusade to be an anti-racist

Calls County Attorney’s office racist

Gunnigle won’t enforce AZ abortion laws

Gunnigle criticizes Adel for enforcing existing laws on the books

Gunnigle donates 500 hours to helping with abortion

Voters in Maricopa County need to wake up and inform their neighbors about the consequences of a blue wave in AZ. If the GOP allows Democratic activists to run county offices, or to take control of the legislature, Arizona’s government will be transformed into an activists playground just like California, Oregon, and Washington State. Vote the Republican slate.

Connected Commerce Council Releases New Report: Arizona’s Digitally Savvy Small Businesses Outperform During Pandemic

Washington, D.C. (September 08, 2020): The Connected Commerce Council (3C) today released a report detailing how small businesses nationwide that embraced digital tools early are generating more revenue than their peers, and that Arizona small businesses are using digital tools more and expecting 2020 revenue that exceeds the national averages. The report highlights the existence and importance of the small business “Digital Safety Net,” which 3C defines as the free and low-cost small business services that include communications and workflow tools, digital marketing and advertising, websites and social media, back-office tools, and e-commerce and online payment tools.

Digitally Driven shows that nationally small businesses that embraced digital tools the earliest – “Digital Drivers” – expect 4x better revenue for 2020 compared to “Digital Maintainers,” those who are generally skeptical of digital tools’ value and typically use only a few basic tools such as email and perhaps a website. In Arizona, 49% of small businesses are digital drivers compared to 35% nationally with a predicted 9.75% in revenue reduction compared to an expected 16% reduction in revenue nationally.

“In times like these, when in-person commerce is limited, if not impossible, and working from home is the norm, digital tools literally are a safety net preventing deeper small business calamity,” said 3C President Jake Ward. “The Digital Safety Net is real. However, the net could — and must — be bigger, more robust, and more inclusive. Small businesses must invest time in selecting the right digital tools for their business; technology companies must help small businesses access the right tools; and policymakers must invest more money in public-private partnerships that create and support small business resource networks.”

Other key findings in the report include:

In addition to the 49% that were digital drivers:

  • 23% of Arizona small businesses are “Digital Adopters.” They recognize the value of digital tools and are using some, but are not fully committed to digital, compared to 33% nationally
  •  24% of Arizona small businesses are “Digital Maintainers.” They are generally skeptical of digital tools’ value or are tech-nervous, and typically only use a few basic tools such as email and perhaps a website, compared to 33% nationally

Comparing the 50 states, those with a higher incidence of Digital Drivers show stronger small businesses resiliency than those states with more Adopters and Maintainers.

  • The states with the most Drivers and best-expected 2020 revenue are:

Nevada (63% Drivers, 5.26% revenue growth)

Alabama (51% Drivers, 6.61% revenue reduction)

Arizona (49% Drivers, 9.75% revenue reduction)

Georgia (40% Drivers, 10.75% revenue reduction)

Colorado (47% Drivers, 12.45% revenue reduction)

  • 71% of Arizona small businesses increased their use of digital tools during the pandemic, compared to 72% nationally.
  • Pre-COVID-19, 69% of Arizona small businesses found digital tools either “essential” or “important” to their business, compared to 68% nationally.
  • Arizona small businesses cited three key challenges to adopting and expanding their use of digital tools: 37% cite being unsure about return on investment, 52% cite cost, and 56% cite information and skills gaps.

“When COVID-19 hit, I was seriously concerned about the future of my business,” said Eli Crane of Bottle Breacher in Tucson, Ariz. “Luckily, we were already familiar with a number of digital tools that proved critically important during the crisis. These tools were definitely instrumental to our survival.”

The report also recommends that small businesses maximize their digital tool use and become better prepared for the next crisis, and provides a playbook for tech platforms, governments, and NGOs to support small businesses today and into the future.

For small businesses, it is critical to identify their goals, gaps, and precise needs to ensure they are investing in the right digital tools – not the most popular or least expensive options. For technology companies, helping small businesses discover which digital tools they need and
providing confidence-building skills training and user-friendly support materials will help with the knowledge gap that prevents many companies from taking the digital plunge. And for policymakers, the need is to increase funding of small business resources and create public-private partnerships to address access and education barriers that small businesses experience during tough economic times.

Digitally Driven, commissioned by 3C in conjunction with Google and Greenberg, is based on findings from a nationwide survey of 7,021 small businesses that were still in business, including a representative sample from every state in the country. Data are weighted by gender, ethnicity, region, business size, and vertical, to ensure an accurate national representation. The survey was fielded online and by phone between May 28 and July 3, 2020.

The full report can be found here.
A summary of the report and its key findings for Arizona can be found here.

About 3C: The Connected Commerce Council is a non-profit membership organization with a single goal: to promote small businesses’ access to essential digital technologies and tools. 3C provides small businesses with access to the market’s most effective digital tools available, provides coaching to optimize growth and efficiency, and cultivates a policy environment that considers and respects the interests of today’s small businesses.

Tech Policy and the 2020 Election: Antitrust and Big Tech

By: Jennifer Huddleston

Introduction

Is Big Tech too big, and do companies such as Facebook, Apple, Google, and Amazon need to be broken up via antitrust action? Have we moved into a new age of “cyber barons”? Criticism of large tech platforms and discussions of antitrust action have come from both the left and the right recently. Many of these criticisms do not reflect the underlying principles of antitrust law, but instead reflect other policy concerns such as data privacy and content moderation. Given the criticism from both sides of the aisle, it is not surprising that both presidential candidates have suggested that they would engage in further antitrust scrutiny of large tech platforms if elected.

Liberal Criticisms Regarding Existing Standards

Democratic criticisms of current antitrust largely suggest that enforcement is not aggressive enough and does not account for practices that harm workers and stifle competitors but are not seen in economic harm to consumers. For example, the Biden-Harris platform supports modifying antitrust laws and ties the need for such modifications to “empowering workers.” More generally, criticisms from the left argue that the current approach to antitrust law does not properly account for all the harms to a market by large firms’ behavior and that a more flexible, policy-based approach should be used for more zealous antitrust enforcement.

There are two main problems with such criticisms. First, a more flexible and broad policy-based approach to antitrust would create greater uncertainty for consumers, innovators, and competitors. The prior rule of reason approach stifled beneficial mergers or changes out of an unjustified concern. This approach also tends to focus on the impact on competitors rather than on consumers’ welfare and a properly functioning market.

Second, even the supposed problems have not been shown to be truly harmful or even actually exist. Arguments about the use of data for house brands by Amazon is not that different from the behavior traditional retailers such as Target or Walmart have engaged in for decades. The idea of a “kill zone” (where big tech companies buy out small companies before they can challenge them) appears to be largely a myth and instead has provided more options for startups and investors as well as improved products for consumers. Concerns about market concentration often miss changes in market dynamics or differences in competition at a local versus national level.

Moving away from an objective standard of antitrust might not benefit the very consumers competition law was intended to protect and risks providing a dangerous way for political motives to intrude into an already competitive market. Such politicization could increase the abuse of antitrust law such as the Trump Administration Department of Justice’s alleged use of antitrust to review mergers in the cannabis industry based only on its dislike of the product.

Conservative Critiques of Antitrust

Calls to break up Big Tech have not only come from the left but also from policymakers on the right. Conservative criticisms often allege that the companies are abusing market power to silence conservative voices and argue that breaking these companies up would solve a litany of non-competition related policy concerns. The Department of Justice during the Trump Administration has been actively pursuing potential antitrust claims against the largest tech companies. The president himself has suggested more use of antitrust law against large tech companies, even applauding European Union fines against American tech companies. But as with the criticisms from the left, these proposed solutions might make the alleged problems even worse.

Breaking up “Big Tech” would not solve concerns about anti-conservative bias, content moderation, data privacy, or any of a litany of non-competition policy concerns. Such a policy motivation is not the appropriate use of antitrust and would be better addressed by more targeted policy reforms if needed. In fact, using antitrust to require a breakup might even make these problems worse. Smaller firms would have more limited resources to devote to tasks such as content moderation or data security and might find themselves engaging in more advertising or data usage without the efficiency of a large company. The result is far from a guarantee that these now separated companies would better respond to these policy concerns or be more friendly to conservatives. As former Senator Rick Santorum recently wrote, “Going back to the media of 25 years ago would not go well for the President or for conservatives…. As America wrestles with so many tough issues and prepares to select its leaders in a charged partisan atmosphere, social media matters. And social media matters more to the election prospects for conservatives than it does for progressives.”

Using antitrust for more political purposes not only risks undermining those purposes; it risks unnecessary government interference in a free and competitive market. The result again could easily be that consumers lose out on potential mergers or efficiencies that would have benefited them. In some cases involving technology, the result could even be an increase in costs for once zero-cost products.

Conclusion

The current approach to antitrust is principled and objective with a focus correctly on consumers. As a result, it is a tool to allow competitive markets to continue to flourish while providing a principled mode of correction when anti-competitive behavior arises. Such a standard is adaptable to fast-moving, innovative fields as well as more traditional markets. As conversations around antitrust and Big Tech are likely to continue under either a Trump or Biden Administration, proposed changes to antitrust would likely bring with them new problems as well as fail to cure existing ones.

Jennifer Huddleston is the Director of Technology and Innovation Policy at the American Action Forum.  @jrhuddles

National Council on Disability releases Statement Opposing Importation of IPI

Importation of the IPI in the U.S. will restrict access to prescription medications for the millions of Americans who rely on Medicare Part B due to the IPI’s reliance on quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) – a formula used to assess the value of medications by assigning a lower value to the life of a person with an illness or disability

WASHINGTON—The National Council on Disability released the following statement:

Making prescription medicines more affordable is a proper and necessary goal for the U.S., but it is not in the best interest of Americans to import price controls from countries that use the International Pricing Index (IPI) to determine U.S. drug pricing.

Importation of the IPI in the U.S. will restrict access to prescription medications for the millions of Americans who rely on Medicare Part B due to the IPI’s reliance on quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) – a formula used to assess the value of medications by assigning a lower value to the life of a person with an illness or disability.

To date, QALYs have been deemed contrary to U.S. public policy because of the discriminatory design and impact on people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. NCD’s 2019 report on QALYs describes their consequences on people with chronic illnesses and disabilities in countries with government-run health systems that use the IPI. Where Americans enjoy broad access to the most effective and cutting-edge medications available, people in IPI countries have dramatically less access to important drugs, including denied or restricted access to the most effective drugs for cancer and other serious medical conditions.

Medicare and Medicaid have not relied on value assessments that use QALYs for prescription drugs but importing the IPI will most certainly reduce access to quality healthcare for Americans by limiting or restricting access to medications. It will also import the use of QALYs, which run counter to U.S. civil rights laws that prohibit healthcare discrimination against people with disabilities.

For the benefit of all Americans who rely on nondiscriminatory access to the most effective prescription drugs to treat their individual conditions, NCD urges the Trump administration to abandon its plan to use IPI and to examine alternatives that do not rely on QALYs or other discriminatory metrics.

Conservative leaders say tech anti-trust lawsuits “undermine the rule of law, and negatively impact consumers”

The Honorable David N. Cicilline
Chairman, House Committee on the Judiciary
Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law

The Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner
Ranking Member, House Committee on the Judiciary
Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law

Dear Chairman Cicilline and Ranking Member Sensenbrenner,

We, the undersigned, write to you regarding your July 29 hearing, “Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 6: Examining the Dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.” We also understand that the House Judiciary Committee has launched its own investigation into these companies and are also reviewing whether changes are necessary to existing antitrust laws. This comes as both sides of the aisle are pushing for the weaponization of antitrust, either as a tool to punish corporate actors with whom they disagree or out of a presupposition that big is bad.

We would like to emphasize the need to distinguish between the proper and improper uses of antitrust in approaching discussions of market power, and are concerned that today’s hearing could lead to the use of antitrust to address concerns surrounding online content moderation, data privacy, equality, or other socio-political issues that are unrelated to the competitive process.

It is important to consider what is at stake. Using antitrust to achieve policy or political goals would upend more than a century of legal and economic learning and progress. The need to bring coherency to antitrust law through a neutral underlying principle that cannot be weaponized is what led to the adoption of the modern consumer welfare standard.[1] It is broad enough to incorporate a wide variety of evidence and shifting economic circumstances but also clear and objective enough to prevent being subjected to the beliefs of courts and enforcers. Abandoning the consumer welfare standard by giving enforcers a roving mandate would shift antitrust law back to the approach of the 1960s when, in Justice Potter Stewart’s words, “[t]he sole consistency that I can find is that, in litigation under [the antitrust laws], the Government always wins.”[2]

It is also important to put today’s hearing into perspective. The current antitrust debate is relevant to far more than just “Big Tech.” The economic consequences of many of the recent proposals would make the American economy and consumers substantially worse off across a wide array of industries. Proposals include aggressive merger prohibitions, inverting the burden of proof, allowing collusion and antitrust exemptions for politically favored firms, and politicizing antitrust enforcement decision-making more generally. Arbitrary or overly-broad antitrust enforcement would hamper our economic recovery and risks job losses—something we can ill-afford as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 economic slow-down.

In sum, weaponizing antitrust for broader socioeconomic purposes would fundamentally alter the primary goal of antitrust, undermine the rule of law, and negatively impact consumers. We ask that this letter be entered in the hearing record. We thank you for your oversight of this important issue. 

Sincerely,

Ashley Baker
Director of Public Policy
The Committee for Justice

Robert H. Bork, Jr.
President
The Bork Foundation

Ralph Benko
Chairman
The Capitalist League

Wayne Brough
President
Innovation Defense Foundation

Tom Giovanetti
President
Institute for Policy Innovation

Douglas Holtz-Eakin
President
American Action Forum

Karen Kerrigan
President & CEO
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Curt Levey
President
The Committee for Justice

Stephen Moore
Co-Founder
Committee to Unleash Prosperity

Katie McAuliffe
Executive Director
Digital Liberty

Doug McCullough
Director
Lone Star Policy Institute

Lisa B. Nelson
CEO
American Legislative Exchange Council

Grover G. Norquist
President
Americans for Tax Reform

Andrea O’Sullivan
Director, Center for Technology and Innovation
James Madison Institute

Eric Peterson
Director of Policy
Pelican Institute

Steve Pociask
President / CEO
The American Consumer Institute

Thomas A. Schatz
President
Citizens Against Government Waste

Pete Sepp
President
National Taxpayers Union

Josh Withrow
Senior Policy Analyst
FreedomWorks

David Williams
President
Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Price Controls Aren’t Solutions

BY DANIEL SAVICKAS

Prices for prescription drugs in the U.S. are far too high. There is no denying this sad reality. According to an analysis done by the House Ways and Means Committee, the U.S. pays roughly four times as much as 11 similar nations for prescription drugs. For millions of patients, families, and caregivers, this is unacceptable. Policymakers are right when they say something needs to be done.

However, it wouldn’t truly be a day that ends in ‘y’ in Washington if the proposed answer from lawmakers didn’t threaten to make the problem worse. Lawmakers of all stripes – from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to even President Donald Trump himself – are proposing to implement price controls in hopes of assuaging the problem.

These lawmakers, especially the self-proclaimed “conservatives” who should know better, ought to heed the sage wisdom from President Reagan’s inaugural address: “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Sadly, the proposal on the table would introduce more government to the equation, not less.

Currently, various lawmakers have proposed some form of an international pricing index (IPI). This concept would tie drug prices in the U.S. to drug prices overseas. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rolled out a proposal in late 2018 that would have capped drug prices in Medicare Part B to no more than 50 percent above the aggregated prices in 14 comparator nations. This is similar to a proposal introduced in the Senate by the aforementioned Sanders.

Fortunately, that proposal seemed to go the way that most socialistic schemes do: to the dustbin of history. Unfortunately, there are credible rumors that the White House is attempting to revive it with the added twist of the knife in the form of a “most favored nation” provision (MFN). Said provision would ensure that, amongst developed nations, the U.S. would have to have the lowest prescription drug prices. In other words, the U.S. will have the most stringent price controls in the world. This is a problem.

While the U.S. does have unacceptably high drug prices, there are a number of reasons why we are still higher than the rest of the world. Most of the other nations in the developed world have price controls of their own. This does ensure that they have lower prices. However, it also ensures that they have access to fewer cures, are subject to longer wait times, and often suffer from drug shortages. These are consequences that the U.S. will surely inherit if we choose to model the rest of the world.

There are plenty of solutions to help bring U.S. prices down in a market friendly way that would not upset the superior quality of care Americans receive. One would be to appoint a special trade negotiator who will convince other nations to relax their price controls so the U.S. does not have to shoulder the disproportionate burden of pharmaceutical research and development. Another would be to relax the massive burden the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) places on drug makers, making it exorbitantly expensive to do so. We could also reform the patent system that incentivizes minimal innovation and cyclical price hiking.

If we decide to go the route of the rest of the world, we will succumb to the socialist vision of European healthcare and will inherit their deficiencies. There is a definite problem in the U.S. However, despite being rebranded as a “most favored nation” proposal, is still a price control, and thus the introduction of a new problem. We need actual solutions.

US Chamber: AMERICA’S ANTITRUST LAWS MYTH vs. FACTS

America’s antitrust laws have ensured competition thrives, providing consumers with the benefits of lower prices, higher quality products and services, more choices, and greater innovation. However, some seek to rewrite these laws to undermine the consumer’s ability to pick
winners and losers in the marketplace.

Before Congress starts making unnecessary and harmful changes to existing antitrust laws, it’s important to set a few things straight.

Jeremy Whittaker Liberal Democrat or Opportunist?

Jeremy Whittaker’s Voting Record:

In 2006 he voted in the Democrat Primary Election!

In 2008 he voted in the Democrat Primary Election!

IN 2016 he voted in the Democrat Primary Election!

As a registered Democrat in 2016, he voted in the Democrat Presidential election. Yes, the election where he chose either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton!

Then, he decided to run for Mesa City Council in a predominantly Republican district.  So in April 2016 he re-registered as an independent.  Was that real or for show?  Well, let’s see: in 2018 while on City Council he requested a Democrat primary ballot and voted in the Democratic Primary Election.  He’s also a fixture in the LD25 Democrat District meeting scene. A lot of people in Mesa are genuinely confused about who to vote for in the City Council race coming up in Mesa. Jeremy Whittaker is an incumbent running for re-election, and some conservatives are supporting him because of his stated efforts to lower utility fees and his failed opposition to the City’s deal with ASU in downtown Mesa. Many conservatives are supporting Republican small business owner and mom, Julie Spilsbury. Conservatives should beware of Whittaker. Facts don’t lie and the public record has shown that Whittaker has contemplated instituting a primary property tax; he has never voted in a single Republican primary, and has voted in nearly every Democrat primary; and was a registered Democrat until recently. Even as a registered Independent, he STILL REQUESTS AND VOTES A DEMOCRAT BALLOT.

First, Whittaker’s opposition of utility fees to fund public safety was offset by his idea of instituting a property tax for Mesa voters.  He never tells voters that side of the story. In one city council meeting you can see the exchange between GIles and Whittaker as a frustrated Giles lets Whittaker know that his property tax idea is a failed one. Mesa Voters rejected a primary property tax two decades ago, and polling continues to show that Mesa voters don’t want primary property taxes, aka renting your property back from the government under threat of confiscation.  Voters in Mesa also don’t want to “defund the police” by literally cutting their funding, which is what Whittaker’s utility scheme amounts to.

Second, Whittaker has made opposition to ASU a central plank in his efforts to convince conservatives he is one of them, referring to a failed ballot initiative in 2016 for the deal. What Whittaker hasn’t told the voters is that he has supported the wrong kind of taxpayer subsidized development in downtown. Whittaker is a supporter of subsidized low income housing in downtown Mesa, risking the creation of conditions of dense poverty that crushes local schools, churches, and neighborhoods. He has voted for numerous projects along the lightrail and downtown to pack downtown with government supported housing, sometimes voting to give away city owned property at a fraction of its value to support the projects. Even the liberal Atlantic has said what a failed experiment dense public housing for the poor is.  While Phoenix and Tempe have renewed their city cores, Whittaker has been all about creating concentrated poverty in downtown Mesa.

While we know Whittaker is liberal and claims to care about the poor, but the data says that helping the poor come out of poverty requires them to be in balanced communities. Packing poor people together in older areas and public funded apartments increases stress on neighborhoods, keeps poor people in the cycle of poverty, and creates eventual social problems. Mayor Giles and the Council know the importance of having educational and economic opportunities in downtown to add needed balance to the economic mix of downtown. They found another way to finance the ASU project without raising taxes by using opportunity funds, some of which are paid for by developments being built near ASU spurred because ASU is there. Whittaker’s advocacy for government housing and opposition to true economic balance should be noted by conservative voters. 

Lastly, how one votes is secret in America. If someone votes, their party registration, and the ballots they requested is a matter of public record. Here is what the record shows about Jeremy Whittaker. 

Congress Must Help Arizonans with Health Coverage

Tyler Montague, President Public Integrity Alliance, Inc.

Arizonans have high expectations of our elected officials in Washington, but measuring up isn’t complicated. Operate with integrity. Listen to families’ concerns. And doggedly represent the interests of regular Americans in a capital awash in powerful and often corrupt influence.

Now as trillions of dollars flow from government in response to the COVID-19 crisis, principled leadership is more important than ever. Hard-working families are hurting, and their needs—not the wish lists pressed by lobbyists and big donors—must be the top priority.

Rampant unemployment means far too many Americans are surviving today without a paycheck, and as many as 27 million may have lost their employer-provided health coverage. Their ranks include a large proportion of the nearly 900,000 Arizonans who have been forced to seek unemployment assistance since the coronavirus pandemic began.[1] [2]

This is the backdrop against which U.S. Senator Martha McSally runs to retain her seat against some stiff competition. To prevail, she’ll need to demonstrate that she understands what families are going through and that she has the tenacity to fight and win on their behalf.

There exists right now a prime opportunity for Senator McSally to prove her mettle to voters. She should propose a health coverage solution to include in the next COVID-19 relief bill, so families needn’t cower any longer in fear of inaccessible healthcare or mounting medical bills. Such a plan should incorporate market-based, time-limited remedies to help employers sustain health coverage through the pandemic, as well as offering the recently unemployed ways to keep the coverage they depend on or find an alternative.

If Senator McSally and her colleagues want other stimulus measures they favor, such as her tourism-focused American TRIP Act, to have any effect, they must first act on health coverage.[3] What’s holding the economy back is no longer the sweeping government lockdowns of March and April—it is the rational concern among many recently uninsured families that they simply cannot afford to get sick.

With reliable health coverage, on the other hand, American families would be more financially secure and could spend more freely. A robust middle class return to the marketplace would have an immediate, positive impact on companies’ revenues, growth, and rehiring and would reduce the need for ongoing government intervention to prop up the economy.

With health coverage, Americans could also continue to take personal responsibility for their own wellness. They could seek preventive care or obtain prescription medications to control underlying medical conditions, for example, and thereby minimize the incidence of severe disease and disability, not to mention the burden on our currently overwhelmed hospitals. 

A healthy country is a good in itself, but it is also the wellspring of economic strength. As we beat back a coronavirus resurgence and U.S. businesses regain traction, they will need millions of employees ready to work. Maintaining health coverage in the meantime will help ensure a robust workforce is there when called.

The key to successful recovery will be to enact the right health coverage solutions, however, not to permanently stifle the economy with the government-run healthcare schemes of the far-left. “Medicare for All” and similar plans represent a dangerous expansion of the bureaucratic state. Such proposals would expose the entirety of the U.S. healthcare system to fraud and other abuses of the public trust. Imagine if lobbying and political donations were to shape decisions about who qualified for medical care and when they could receive it—it’s a nightmare scenario America must avoid.

Unfortunately, the only thing necessary for the triumph of disastrous policy, to paraphrase Edmund Burke, is for good people to do nothing. If Republicans offer no compelling answers on health coverage, they risk devastating losses in November. In an era dominated by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other avowed socialists, worse outcomes than Obamacare will likely follow a Democratic takeover in Washington.

Why, then, does Mitch McConnell so far appear content to do nothing and court disaster? Senator McSally must convince him otherwise. To attempt to do so is admittedly test of courage. She would need to take on the economic and public health denialism to which some Republicans, including our President, still cling. But the same woman who in March demanded that Senators stop receiving paychecks until they did their jobs and voted to help out-of-work families can certainly handle the pressure. [4] She can once again take a stand for average Americans and bring them the health coverage relief they desperately need.


[1] https://tucson.com/business/at-least-631-000-arizonans-have-sought-regular-jobless-benefits-in-pandemic/article_ee979eee-34af-5970-b5cf-890ae7c0e9f8.html   

[2] The 900,000 is the regular, state unemployment plus federal programs to help contractors, others who wouldn’t otherwise qualify. Both numbers are in the article linked above.

[3] https://fortune.com/2020/06/23/more-stimulus-checks-coronavirus-help-vacation-vouchers/

[4] https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/laurieroberts/2020/03/24/arizona-sen-martha-mcsally-paychecks-stimulus/2908291001/

FreedomWorks was joined by 17 organizations in sending a letter to President Trump opposing any executive order that would tie prescription drug prices in the United States to those in foreign nations.

BY SARAH ANDERSON

Dear President Trump,

We, the undersigned organizations, representing millions of taxpayers and consumers nationwide, oppose any executive order that would tie prescription drug prices in the United States to those in foreign nations.

There is no denying that the cost of healthcare in the United States is quite high and continues to rise at a rate that is unsustainable for many Americans. Addressing this crisis requires a sober analysis of all of the factors at play and a willingness to come together across the aisle to offer a lasting solution for the millions of families and caregivers in our great nation.

Unfortunately, the “international pricing index” (IPI) and its most recent variant that includes a “most favored nation” (MFN) provision are not the type of solutions our nation needs. In fact, they represent quite the opposite of what is needed.

Any form of price setting is a treatment of symptoms, not causes. Prices stem from the actions and demands of both individuals and groups. As has been shown repeatedly in countries with socialized health care systems, governments cannot expect to set the price of any good – let alone one as crucial as prescription drugs – below its market value without incurring painful consequences.

This is not hypothetical. The healthcare systems in the reference nations upon which the IPI would base its pricing have scores of inefficiencies. These nations routinely suffer from increased wait times, drug shortages, and rationing of care. We need our leaders to do whatever is in their power to prevent these outcomes from making their way to our shores, not to emulate the systems that have engendered them. We cannot implement the same models as other nations and believe we will remain immune to their deficiencies.

A study using data from the National Institutes of Health found that if all developed countries lifted all price controls on prescription drugs, the resulting increase in investment in pharmaceutical research and development would yield eight to thirteen new drugs per year through 2030.

This is pure logic. As we stated earlier, there are distinct economic consequences to holding a commodity below market value. One of those is to increase demand; another is to decrease supply. The resources and time required to develop a new drug and bring it to market are tremendous, and drugmakers must be able to eventually recoup those investments in order to stay in business to develop more cures. Sadly, price controls would leave many waiting in vain for cures that will never come.

With the MFN provision, the U.S. would, by definition, move itself to the back of the line and would be required to have the most stringent price controls globally. Pharmaceutical companies cannot afford to spend exorbitant sums to develop new drugs in a nation that has made itself the worst place on earth to try and recoup their investments.

Beyond the economic and human costs of such a proposal, there are a variety of legal issues with the IPI. First, it relies on an overly broad interpretation of what constitutes a “limited experiment” under the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s (CMMI) statutory authority. Implementing this proposal across broad swaths of Medicare is hardly limited, and the ripple effects it would have will impact the entire healthcare industry in our nation.

The administration is trying to argue before the Supreme Court that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional and using programs established by the law to implement a sweeping change to healthcare as we know it. This proposal, if implemented, would undermine that worthy fight.

If we’ve learned anything over this tumultuous year, it’s that it is an absolute necessity for our healthcare system to be able to operate with maximum flexibility. Price setting through IPI, and price setting accelerated to its most extreme with MFN would stifle medical innovation at a time where we can least afford it as a nation.

As we look to setting America on a sustainable path towards more affordable healthcare for all our citizens, especially its most vulnerable, all of these considerations must be reviewed thoroughly. It is imperative that this be done right and not hastily, which is why we oppose any executive order that would tie prescription drug prices in the United States to those in foreign nations.

Sincerely,

Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks

Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform

Brent Wm. Gardner, Chief Government Affairs Officer, Americans for Prosperity

Pete Sepp, President, National Taxpayers Union

Tom Schatz, President, Citizens Against Government Waste

Daniel Schneider, Executive Director, American Conservative Union

David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Jeff Mazzella, President, Center for Individual Freedom

Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council

Mario H. Lopez, President, Hispanic Leadership Fund

Ryan Ellis, President, Center for a Free Economy

Andrew Langer, President, Institute for Liberty

James Edwards, Executive Director, Conservatives for Property Rights

Seton Motley, President, Less Government

Matthew Kandrach, President, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy

Heather R. Higgins, CEO, Independent Women’s Voice

Phil Kerpen, President, American Commitmen