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Moving on, Next; The War of Words on Health Care

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If the health reform reconciliation passes in the senate, the next stage will be a war of words.

I'm moving on. The phase of fighting for a better bill is over. Progressives lost. We were screwed, lied to, deceived. But today is today and we need to deal with what's on the table today.

We need to reassess relationships and get down to work. For one thing, we want to get behind Allen Grayson's bill that allows anyone to buy into medicare. And we need to minimize the damage done this fall. Regardless of how they feel about the current bill, Progressives don't want more right wingers in congress and don't want teabaggers in congress. Wishing for that is what my late mother called "cutting off your nose to spite your face."

The Republicans have telegraphed their big punch-- attack on passing a bill that is not paid for, that is going to raise taxes and take away freedom. They think they have a slam dunk... or at least that's what they said repeatedly in their failed efforts to intimidate bluedog Democrats. They're also going to hammer on the fact that there is a mandate for everyone to buy health insurance. I'm just not sure how big a deal that is. I think that most of the people who vote for Republicans already have insurance and have been paying for it. People who can't afford it will get help, and anyway, the mandated payments don't kick in this year.

The Dems may be in better shape than the GOP and it's media surrogates suggest. The Democrats have been planning and setting up their position and election strategy for the fall:

  • They ran public hearings where ten second video segments of GOP members could be used against them.
  • They are presenting the legislation as historic, as important as civil rights legislation, as something that will enhance the USA's respect throughout the world. In other words, they're framing this as a noble, honorable act that embraces the values of the founders of the USA.

Then, the bill has immediate changes that will make some people happy:
  • Seniors will have their prescription "donut hole" partially filled, with a $250 rebate.
  • Small businesses will see rebates coming to them to pay for health care. That will help a lot of small businesses and their employees. It will also help small businesses compete for better employees.
  • Families will be able to keep their young adults on their family plans until they turn 26, instead of the current policy of most insurers to drop children at age 19 or, until they finish college or turn 23.
  • Insurance companies won't be able to drop people from being covered when they get sick. This process, called recision, was usually done on the pretext that people had previously un-reported pre-existing conditions, like acne, spousal abuse, etc.
  • Lifetime coverage limits will be eliminated.
  • Insurers will no longer be allowed to bar children from coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Parents will be able to sleep better knowing, if they lose their job, their sick child will still be eligible for health care.
  • Adults with pre-existing conditions will have access to health coverage through a new program.

The $250 rebate is a big, obvious benefit.


Most of the others may not be. It is up to the Democrats to get the mainstream media talking about those benefits, to use whatever means possible to make beneficiaries aware. Their history at messaging is not hopeful. If the Dems are smart, they'll literally invest millions, not in single campaigns, but in doing crowd-sourced, bottom up research-- focus groups, on-line polls, conventional polls-- to identify language, wording and talking points that are most effective in getting out a message that resonates and sticks.

Every bullet listed above-- the positive ones that support them and the negative ones that attack them-- should be re-branded and reframed with simple phrases that people can understand and personally relate to. Consider how the right re-framed inheritance taxes as "the death tax." I've thrown some off-the-top-of-my-head ideas after the benefits listed below, hilighted in green.

  • Seniors prescription "donut hole":Rx Rescue or End the Medication versus Food choice
  • Small businesses health coverage rebates: Helps Small Business Fund Health Care
  • young adults on family plans 'til 26: Protects your older children or Keep your Family Health Care Whole
  • Ending recision: Protection from rip-off cancellations when you get sick
  • Lifetime coverage limits will be eliminated: End the illness coverage death balloon
  • Insurers can't bar children from coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Keeps your sick child covered, if you change or lose your job.
  • Adults with pre-existing conditions will have access to health coverage through a new program. Ends the Pre-existing condition Punishment

I know. Some of them are lame. Recently, I told Barbara Boxer the members of the senate needed to work on better word framing on the issues they were advocating. She replied that she was depending on the progressive media to help. Today, on Morning Joe, John Cornyn said almost the identical thing, when told that the Republicans had done a weak, ineffective job at telling the public about the tax increases that would come out of the bill.

So, get involved in some bottom-up crowdsourcing here. Make suggestions about framing AND about steps progressives need to take now to keep the change going so we move closer to public option and single payer. And while you're at it, come up with better framing for Public Option and single payer. Those words suck.

 

Rob Kall is editor-in-chief, publisher and site architect of OpEdNews.com, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor. He hosts the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, aired in the Metro Philly area on AM 1360, WNJC. Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

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I largely agree with the thrust of this article.Bi... by W Lorraine Watkins on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 11:57:40 AM
Today, I signed the petition for the Medicare Publ... by Scott Baker on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 12:00:52 PM
I am curious, Scott.You write, and write often. An... by John Majors on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 10:22:36 PM
When my father was dying in 2004 - long before the... by Scott Baker on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 1:42:58 AM
For 7 years I did volunteer hospice. In the proces... by John Toradze on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 8:07:19 AM
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John, I spent time running operations in Central A... by John Toradze on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 12:11:45 PM
As a nurse myself, I am somewhat disturbed with a ... by John Majors on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 3:34:37 PM
It's pragmatism that I am against it. 1. In the on... by John Toradze on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 4:23:41 PM
John,I have enjoyed the interaction...although we ... by John Majors on Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 10:42:06 AM
Appreciate that. Scientists tend to be used to som... by John Toradze on Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 11:13:51 AM
My point--more simply put...Arguments are argument... by John Majors on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 11:36:50 AM
The system cannot continue as it is. Rationing of ... by John Toradze on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 4:34:42 PM
Insurance company claim denials have remained near... by John Majors on Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 12:42:08 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_rates_around_the_... by John Toradze on Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 1:04:49 PM
John also what is usually missed in this graph of ... by E. Nelson on Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 12:01:30 AM
Interesting stats.I can't begin to argue the histo... by John Majors on Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 3:35:13 AM
Hillary's flop emphasized that to me personally. R... by Margaret Bassett on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 12:11:33 PM
What about those of us in the individual and small... by Miriam Callaghan on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 12:30:49 PM
This is the first step in what is necessary to fix... by John Toradze on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 1:20:24 PM
I am a working people's attorney. Huge amounts of ... by Miriam Callaghan on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 1:27:17 PM
You speak of "immoral" when 31 million people can'... by John Toradze on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 2:05:31 PM
Facinating...The CBO just reported that the new he... by John Majors on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 9:33:03 PM
Her postings elsewhere appeared to be trying to in... by E. Nelson on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 4:32:58 PM
It seems that the only arguments you have are ad f... by Miriam Callaghan on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 4:44:50 PM
Health care is an interesting topic. Unfortunately... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 8:28:55 PM
I agree that in some way health care costs have to... by John Toradze on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 8:29:25 AM
The primary strategy should be to use the basic pr... by John Toradze on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 12:52:48 PM
So essentially..."Guys, lets get together and come... by John Majors on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 1:37:35 PM
How about "Health Justice" for Single Payer and "N... by Mick J on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 2:04:47 PM
1. Healthcare is a right. Universal healthcare for... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 2:06:00 PM
When the moronic Sarah Palin rhetorically asked: "... by Blaine Kinsey on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 2:46:15 PM
The next step as far as I'm concerned is to suppor... by Carol Thompson on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 3:52:11 PM
That's my suggested slogan for progressives in the... by Kyle Griffith on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 6:52:04 PM
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Yes, you are right. People DO need to change their... by Scott Baker on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 2:04:19 AM
Um, Scott? There are not 100's of thousands of sel... by John Toradze on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 8:35:28 AM
You're only looking at small subset of gun violenc... by Scott Baker on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 4:43:16 PM
You left out the article's emphasis on the decline... by John Toradze on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 5:11:48 PM
click here - FIREARM INJURY IN THE U.S. Figure 1 d... by John Toradze on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 5:20:39 PM
Thanks for pointing out that article. It's even wo... by Scott Baker on Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 2:44:04 AM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34714389/ns/us_news-li... by John Toradze on Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 11:58:00 AM
Scott, wait a minute...Are you saying that it is a... by John Majors on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 3:47:55 PM
Here, in the order you listed them:Overeat: a Righ... by Scott Baker on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 4:54:02 PM
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[You state: I take the perhaps unique position tha... by Blaine Kinsey on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 7:59:49 PM
Well said Blain...I always get a little nervous wh... by John Majors on Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 11:30:45 AM
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Health care as a human right, from birth to death,... by August Adams on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 9:32:15 PM
Maybe next the government could test us at (oh, I ... by John Majors on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 9:52:06 PM
Reading through the comments here, I see a polariz... by boomerang on Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 11:37:59 PM
Blaine Kinsey, who commented earlier, speaks for m... by Perry Logan on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 6:06:08 AM
Read the comment in "Red" below, and then listen t... by boomerang on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 7:29:13 AM
It is interesting that two of the largest for-prof... by E. Nelson on Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 12:32:23 AM
"Insurers will no longer be allowed to bar childre... by J. Edward Tremlett on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 10:42:51 AM
If they lose their jobs, how will they pay the pre... by Miriam Callaghan on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 3:30:44 PM
They never lose their healthcare. It's one of the ... by J. Edward Tremlett on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 10:45:32 PM
Who "sleep better" knowing that their children wil... by Miriam Callaghan on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 11:24:48 PM
"There is nothing in this bill that prevents an in... by J. Edward Tremlett on Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 8:01:43 AM
You erroneously state: "Those, along with making M... by Blaine Kinsey on Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 11:26:47 AM
If Mr, Tremlett wants to continue to use dead bodi... by Blaine Kinsey on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 6:19:11 PM
Wars are not won and lost in one battle Blaine. I... by John Toradze on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 6:27:18 PM
Although I do not agree with all of Miriam Callagh... by Blaine Kinsey on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 8:55:54 PM
... it's what they use to make the flowers grow. W... by J. Edward Tremlett on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 9:49:54 PM
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And I see the manure smell is coming from your dir... by J. Edward Tremlett on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 10:23:27 PM
You are always sweet and considerate, and those wi... by Blaine Kinsey on Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010 at 10:41:02 PM