War of Words on Health Care Reform

Blog_Healthcare_Words

Washington Wire breaks down lists of words which were found to work better with focus groups to sell health care reform. It is not clear whether this lists remains relevant at this point in the debate and to what degree the Obama administration is even following these guides, but they do raise some questions.

Public is found to be a better word than government. Somehow I doubt that conservatives who have a knee jerk opposition to any government plan would feel any better about something called public. This is seen in their opposition to the public option, which is indistinguishable from their expected reaction to a government run option.

Choice and control is seen as preferable to competition. I guess this means that Hillary Clinton’s idea of managed competition is also out.

I have no idea why prevention is seen as good but wellness is seen as bad or why rules are better than regulations.

A choice of public and private plans is ok to say but Medicare for all is not. On one level this makes sense as Obama has rejected a single payer system such as Medicare for all. It would seem that it makes sense to avoid discussing a plan which differs so much from what is being advocated, but maybe not. Medicare is so popular that perhaps people would go along with such a description. After all, even some Republicans have taken up defending Medicare recently, contradicting their earlier views.

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7 Comments

  1. 1
    b-psycho says:

    “Wellness” probably polls bad because it sounds like a policy term, and a “wellness policy” would more than likely involve attempts to discourage individual lifestyle habits.  “Prevention” is more commonly associated with things like regular checkups.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    I imagine some conservatives could claim that promoting wellness would mean that government beauocrats would be directly involved in taking away people’s cigarettes and fatty foods. While possible, there are far bigger things for conservatives to make up, like “death panels” and scaring people with claims of “socialized medicine.”

  3. 3
    Captin Sarcastic says:

    I just wanted to see what it would like to use all of the bad terms, and then try to use them interchangeably with the good terms.

    Bad…
    The government run healthcare option will promote competition and provide universal coversal to every American that wants it, free for those who need it, and affordable for everyone else. This option will provide preventative care to promote wellness, and the new regulations on the private health insurance companies will end the practices that leave so many Americans without reasonable healthcare options.  Medicare is a government run healthcare plan and Americans on Medicare are more satisfied with their plans than people on private plans. With that kind of satisfaction, we would do well to have the choice of Medicare for all.

    Good…

    The public healthcare option will give Americans choice and control over their own healthcare and provide quality, affordable coverage to every American that wants it, using a sliding a scale premium that will allow less well off Americans to afford this basic necessaity.  This option will promote preventative care for a healthier America, and the new rules on the private health insurance companies will end the practices that leave so many Americans without reasonable healthcare options.  Americans deserve a choice of private and public to best meet their needs.

    Just a semantic game, it all means the same to me, but I wonder why they didn’t ask whether people prefer the term “death panel” to “coverage for end of life consultations”? sarc ; -)

  4. 4
    Mike's I.P. alter-ego says:

    Ron-My compliments to you on this post and the immediate previous. Sorry I have no time to comment at greater length, but as you said: “Compliments are always appropriate”. 🙂

  5. 5
    Eclectic Radical says:

    “I imagine some conservatives could claim that promoting wellness would mean that government beauocrats would be directly involved in taking away people’s cigarettes and fatty foods. While possible, there are far bigger things for conservatives to make up, like “death panels” and scaring people with claims of “socialized medicine.””
     
    Some already have.
     

  6. 6
    Fritz says:

    Eclectic — perhaps if Democratic politicos stopped threatening to tax HFCS and sugar (while also subsidizing and protecting their production) the rumors would go away.
     
    And once this type of thing gets in place, it goes crazy.  Like cigarette taxes,  And carpool slots.  The number of carpool only slots at work just doubled — presumably from government mandate.   Crazy — since the original number of slots weren’t fully utilized to begin with.

  7. 7
    Eclectic Radical says:

    I don’t really have a problem with cigarette taxes, Fritz, sorry.
     
    I haven’t heard actual politicians threatening to tax or sanction HCFS or sugar. I’ve heard liberal pundits in love with quack alternative medicine gurus (primarily Bill Maher and Arianna Huffington) advocate taxes or sanctions. While Maher and Huffington could possibly lay claim to being the ‘Rush and Ann Coulter of the left’, neither is someone of much direct political influence and their indirect influence on the mainstream Democratic Party is very questionable.
     
    But taxes are not the same as bans. Indeed, taxes actually entrench something’s legality and legitimacy. Once the government levies taxes on something, then the government has a vested interest in encouraging continued production and sale of that commodity to everyone who can afford to pay the taxes in order to keep the income flowing.
     
    So even if such a tax were to be passed, it would be proof the government was not going to take our sugar away. They’d want the money too badly to do that.
     
    Of course, the majority of anti-tax Republicans are not able to think through a problem that logically.
     
    It can be very tricky to postulate a government mandate from the behavior of a business. ‘Presumably’ is a loaded word, as it confesses that one does not know and is in fact presuming. It’s fine to presume, and a presumption can be logical or correct… but a presumption is still not fact. And many businesses take their own steps to be ‘environmentally friendly’ in superficial ways (such as increasing carpool slots) for a multitude of reasons (especially those having to do with projecting their image to employees and customers) that have nothing to do with mandates.
     

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