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On behalf of hundreds of thousands of FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to VOTE NO on H.R. 2: the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009. This legislation calls for spending $33 billion over the next five years to expand coverage of the SCHIP program. At a time when our nation is facing record-breaking deficits in the trillions of dollars, expanding programs and spending more should not be on the agenda.
H.R. 2 calls for a $.61 increase in the federal cigarette tax to fund this massive expansion of government healthcare, placing the burden of this increase not just on the backs of a small minority of taxpayers, but the small business owners who will suffer a loss of business as smokers turn to the black market, the internet, and reservations to avoid these costs. This comes on top of the huge cigarette tax hikes being considered by many, many states around the country looking to fill budget holes by going after a vulnerable portion of the tax base. Cigarette taxes are a historically unreliable source of revenue and when the anticipated billions don’t materialize, the federal government will look to other taxes in order to keep its promises.
The passage of this massive package would be a giant step towards government control over the funding and direction of health care services in this country. The original intention of SCHIP when enacted in 1997 was as a limited contribution to state health programs. Such a large expansion of this program would make SCHIP similar to our automatically funded entitlement programs that disregard any fiscal restraint and discipline. An expansion of SCHIP funding will encourage a move from private insurers to a government mandated, socialized health care program with limited options or choices for families and individuals.
At this time, the House should not be considering legislation that unnecessarily spends billions and expands coverage to groups of people up to 300 percent above the poverty line and even middle class adults and families that make as much as $80,000 per year—two groups that were never intended to be covered by this plan. Struggling Americans need more control of their own funds and healthcare. This could be achieved by removing regulations that prevent the purchase insurance across state lines and cutting taxes.
We will count your vote on H.R. 2 as a KEY VOTE when calculating the FreedomWorks Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2009. The Economic Freedom Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the Jefferson Award, which recognizes members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom.