Liberals have one big idea in health care: Find new ways to spend taxpayer money and expand government authority over health care.
This week was no exception in President Biden’s State of the Union speech—with calls for added pressure on states to expand Medicaid, to yet more COVID funding, and making the enhanced Obamacare subsidies permanent.
The bigger government-funded programs get, the more difficult it is for start-ups to find a space for their faster-better-cheaper alternatives. This quashes the entrepreneurial energy that is transformative in other industries.
Undaunted, there are pockets of progress to build on to put doctors and patients in control of their health spending and choices. Our side uses brainpower and a belief in the free-enterprise system to create ideas that use incentives to lower costs through competition and innovation—ideas we will continue to feature and promote in this space and elsewhere. We believe demands for change will increase because of the growing problems with government-run health systems in the U.S. and abroad.
Which brings me to the issue of promoting ideas.
In the 1990s and 2000s, the Galen Institute had millions of hits on Google with current links to our nonstop writing, speaking, and tv and radio interviews. I remember doing seven radio interviews and writing three op-eds in one crazy-busy day.
Then, after Obamacare passed in 2010 and the 2012 Supreme Court allowed the law to stand despite its unconstitutional individual mandate, it began to get more difficult to get articles placed. Yes, we had lost that debate, but something else was going on that I didn’t understand as we tried to point out the endless problems with the law and offer alternatives.
Exposure begets more exposure, with op-eds leading to TV hits to speaking invitations, and on and on. But it works the other way, too.
It began to dawn on me that the phone was ringing less frequently as it became increasingly difficult to get our articles published.
Did Google write an algorithm to shove us down on searches? Did Twitter and Facebook do the same? We knew something had happened, but only recently have we seen through the Twitter Files the extent of their manipulation of the information readers did—and didn’t—see.
And it wasn’t just us, of course. Virtually all of our partners in the free-market-limited government movement have experienced the same, making it harder and harder to get equal attention for our ideas.
One example: Conservatives have been working for years in developing positive, pro-consumer health policy proposals, including most recently our Health Care Choices plan with the support of nearly 100 free-market allies. Yet reporters say over and over with nauseating repetition that we “have no ideas for health reform.” How can they know if they refuse to report on them?
So kudos to the House for holding a hearing this week to begin to expose the suppression that disproportionately affected conservative voices. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and this is a start.
Kudos also to Elon Musk’s Twitter for allowing independent journalists to look behind the curtain and expose how the silencing was done. I’m reminded of a warning I have tried to follow my whole life: Never write something you don’t want to see on the front page of The New York Times (which begrudgingly acknowledges the Twitter Files).
And my biggest kudos go to all of our allies who see health reform as our front in the battle for freedom. Stay tuned: You will see a new generation of leaders with energy, commitment, and determination to get health care back on track, and we will be working together all the way.