Project Report:
Heritage Foundation - 2006 Priority Issues
Purpose
- Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.

Summary

The Heritage Foundation formulates and promotes conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. In the past year, we have advanced this mission in many ways. Two covered in this report are 1) convincing lawmakers to see the value of “dynamic scoring” of tax proposals, and 2) helping to build a market-based health care system throughout the nation, starting with individual states.

Description

The Heritage Foundation’s experts conduct new, hard-hitting research that illustrates how current national policies impact the quality of life for all Americans. These experts, along with our government relations team, educate administration officials, lawmakers and their staffs to offer effective solutions to the nation’s problems, whether they involve tax policy, federal spending, health care, or a host of other issues. Our communications and marketing team keeps our work in the public eye by placing our experts on radio and television shows over eight times a day, and through the placement of an average of 18 commentaries a week.

Purpose

Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.

Last year, Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis, led by William Beach, achieved its most noteworthy victory to date for “dynamic scoring,” which takes into account economic behaviors that result from lowering or raising taxes. As a result of years of effort on Heritage’s part, Congress’ Joint Committee for Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office finally began performing dynamic scoring analyses of tax bills under consideration. Previously lawmakers were making decisions incorrectly assuming that tax cuts hurt revenue, and that tax hikes helped revenue and did not negatively impact the economy. Dynamic scoring provides accurate estimates of economic response to tax cuts and hikes.

Having overcome this barrier with Congress, Heritage continues to educate the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Analysis.

With Congress now using dynamic scoring analyses, along with the administration, there is still work to do to educate all branches of government to use dynamic scoring in the most appropriate ways. For example, dynamic scoring is now merely “one of the ways” the government scores tax legislation, rather than replacing static scoring as the official government method. Then again, dynamic scoring is not needed on every tax proposal; only on ones that affect a larger proportion of the U.S. economy.

The challenge remains to continually educate the public that static scoring is a major obstacle to good tax policy, and more than a decade of Heritage’s efforts in this regard is now bearing fruit.

Explore and develop market-based solutions.

For more than three decades, The Heritage Foundation has been a driving force behind comprehensive reform of our nation’s health care system based on consumer choice and free market competition. Too much government intervention, too much regulation, and too much interference with consumer choice and the delivery of health services by medical professionals have turned our health system into a special interest- driven behemoth that imposes greater and greater costs on individuals and families, while closing off their options to more affordable health care.

In the last few years The Heritage Foundation has diligently promoted health insurance reform in the states, and we are now beginning to see spectacular results. Specifically we have focused on restructuring health insurance markets to create personal, portable health insurance coverage that has all the tax benefits and advantages of employer group coverage. We also have been working to redirect money that is currently going to subsidize hospitals for providing free care to people without health insurance, to premium support or vouchers so these people can have coverage.

This year we saw a major breakthrough in Massachusetts, where Governor Mitt Romney unveiled a comprehensive health care reform plan, based specifically on Heritage policy recommendations. The health insurance exchange (called the “connector”), which Heritage Center for Health Policy Studies experts helped craft, would enable individuals and families who work for small businesses to buy private affordable health insurance coverage. They would own it, and take it with them from job to job without losing the generous federal tax breaks that accrue for employer-based health insurance. Heritage created this version of the health insurance exchange to get around current obstacles in the restrictive federal tax treatment of health insurance. People earning too little to afford private health insurance, and making too much to qualify for Medicaid, would be eligible for state subsidies to help them purchase private insurance. It was a compromise proposal, and it has sparked intense interest around the country. Naturally, the expertise of the Heritage staff has been in high demand, particularly among state legislators and policy groups.

We are currently advising the governor’s staff on policy issues involved in the implementation of the program, which is already serving as a reform model for other states throughout the nation, such as Maryland, Louisiana, New York and South Dakota. We are also providing analysis of the final legislation in numerous briefings and media interviews.

Scope

The Heritage Foundation has long been a leading advocate of free enterprise and international competitiveness, working to provide timely research on the roles free markets and democracy play in fostering economic growth in the United States and countries around the world. Heritage works with other pro-trade think tanks and economic groups to inform members of Congress, the media and the public about the relationship between free trade, open financial markets, economic freedom and prosperity. We recognize that competition creates the incentive to create innovative ideas and to lower costs for goods and services – benefiting producers and consumers across the globe.

Information Dissemination

Heritage is arguably the most “media visible” think tank in Washington. In 2005, 53 different Heritage analysts made over 1,400 radio and TV appearances. Of those appearances, 830 were on foreign policy, defense, homeland security and international economics; and 335 covered taxes, spending, the economy, health care and Social Security.

We target the programs with the widest viewership interested in public policy. For example, 40 interviews on CNN’s Paula Zahn Now, reaching approximately 200,000 viewers who aren’t necessarily interested in policy debates is far less effective than 10 appearances on programs like the O’Reilly Factor, reaching 3,000,000 viewers, most of whom would rather hear about immigration reform or national defense.

On the print media side, we are equally effective. In 2005 Heritage experts or research were cited more than 9,000 times in U.S. newspapers and magazines. In newspapers with circulation over 50,000, Heritage ran an average of 18 commentaries per week. Over the course of the year, Heritage commentaries generated more than 1,750 print clips on average.

On all fronts – radio, television and print media – we will continue to promote our message on a daily basis.

Project Link www.heritage.org

Amount Approved
$3,000.00 on 6/13/2006 (Check sent: 7/17/2006)


  Related Organizations
The Heritage Foundation  


Address
214 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002


Phone
(202) 546-4400
(202) 608-6104 (fax)

Contacts


Rebecca Eddy de Broekert
Manager of Donor Relations, Southern Region, The Heritage Foundation
Sarah Ferguson
Grants Administrator

Posted 5/8/2006 12:50 PM
Updated   9/27/2006 10:40 AM



 
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