Health care talking points by Frank Luntz

It’s not enough to know how government meddling in medical insurance markets and medical care has driven up costs and leaves us vulnerable to huge medical costs.  You have to present it right.  Political consultant Frank Luntz has some suggestions, as reported in Politico. Some points that I liked when addressing how politicians (Democrats in this case) pushing for more government involvement in health care with a “public plan”:

—“It could lead to the government setting standards of care, instead of doctors who really know what’s best.”

—“It could lead to the government rationing care, making people stand in line and denying treatment like they do in other countries with national healthcare.”

-“President Obama wants to put the Washington bureaucrats in charge of healthcare. I want to put the medical professionals in charge, and I want patients as an equal partner.”

(2) Acknowledge the “crisis” or suffer the consequences. If you say there is no healthcare crisis, you give your listener permission to ignore everything else you say. It is a credibility killer for most Americans. A better approach is to define the crisis in your terms. “If you’re one of the millions who can’t afford healthcare, it is a crisis.” Better yet, “If some bureaucrat puts himself between you and your doctor, denying you exactly what you need, that’s a crisis.” And the best: “If you have to wait weeks for tests and months for treatment, that’s a healthcare crisis.”

(4) The arguments against the Democrats’ healthcare plan must center around “politicians,” “bureaucrats,” and “Washington” … not the free market, tax incentives, or competition. Stop talking economic theory and start personalizing the impact of a government takeover of healthcare. They don’t want to hear that you’re opposed to government healthcare because it’s too expensive (any help from the government to lower costs will be embraced) or because it’s anti-competitive (they don’t know about or care about current limits to competition). But they are deathly afraid that a government takeover will lower their quality of care – so they are extremely receptive to the anti-Washington approach. It’s not an economic issue. It’s a bureaucratic issue.

“In countries with government run healthcare, politicians make YOUR healthcare decisions. THEY decide if you’ll get the procedure you need, or if you are disqualified because the treatment is too expensive or because you are too old. We can’t have that in America.”

(6) Healthcare quality = “getting the treatment you need, when you need it.” That is how Americans define quality, and so should you. Once again, focus on the importance of timeliness, but then add to it the specter of “denial.” Nothing will anger Americans more than the chance that they will be denied the healthcare they need for whatever reason. This is also important because it is an attribute of a government healthcare system that the Democrats CANNOT offer. So say it. “The plan put forward by the Democrats will deny people treatments they need and make them wait to get the treatments they are allowed to receive.”

(7) “One-size-does-NOT-fit-all.” The idea that a “committee of Washington bureaucrats” will establish the standard of care for all Americans and decide who gets what treatment based on how much it costs is anathema to Americans. Your approach? Call for the “protection of the personalized doctor-patient relationship.” It allows you to fight to protect and improve something good rather than only fighting to prevent something bad.

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2 Comments

Filed under Policy - National

2 responses to “Health care talking points by Frank Luntz

  1. StereoID

    The rationing is something that I'm completely against. And the fact the government bureaucrats will choose what kind of medical problems will be treated and which are not… well, I do feel some shivers down my spine. __________________________________________buy steroids online

  2. StereoID

    The rationing is something that I'm completely against. And the fact the government bureaucrats will choose what kind of medical problems will be treated and which are not… well, I do feel some shivers down my spine. __________________________________________buy steroids online

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