Liberal, Irreverent

Thursday, July 23, 2009

THINK PROGRESS: The Wonk Rook: Deconstructing Frank Luntz’s Obstructionist Health Care Reform Memo

By Igor Volsky on May 6th, 2009 at 12:32 pm

GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz has authored a new messaging memo defining the Republican rhetoric on health care reform (READ FULL MEMO HERE). The memo is titled “The Language of Health Care 2009″ and it lays out the argument for “stopping the Washington takeover” of health care.” But if fully implemented it may very well stop health care reform:

This document is based on polling results and Instant Response dial sessions conducted in April 2009. It captures not just what Americans want to see but exactly what they want to hear. The Words That Work boxes that follow are already being used by a few Congressional and Senatorial Republicans. From today forward, they should be used by everyone.

Luntz warns that “if the dynamic becomes ‘President Obama is on the side of reform and Republicans are against it,’ then the battle is lost and every word in this document is useless.’” The trouble is, it already is useless. Because rather than challenging the tenets of American reform proposals, Luntz establishes a straw man argument against a non-existent health plan.

Buried amongst the usual rhetoric about government-run health care is Luntz’s predictable contradiction: he instructs Republicans to “be vocally and passionately on the side of REFORM” but then urges GOP lawmakers to misrepresent and obstruct any real chance of passing comprehensive legislation.

“Humanize your approach,” but argue that health care reform “will result in delayed and potentially even denied treatment, procedures and/or medications.” “Acknowledge the crisis” but ask your constituents “would you rather… ‘pay the costs you pay today for the quality of care you currently receive,’ OR ‘Pay less for your care, but potentially have to wait weeks for tests and months for treatments you need.”

In other words, say there is a crisis but then argue that health care reform would lead to “the government setting standards of care,” government “rationing care,” and would “put the Washington bureaucrats in charge of health care.” “This plays into more favorable Republican territory by protecting individual care while downplays the need for a comprehensive national plan,” the memo states.

Readers are also instructed to conflate Obama’s fairly moderate hybrid approach to reform (i.e. building on the current private/public system of delivering health care) with “denial horror stories from Canada & Co.”

Focus on timeliness — “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” — and argue that Republicans will provide “in a word, more: ‘more access to more treatments and more doctors…with less interference from insurance companies and Washington politicians and special interests.’”

But that’s the major problem with Luntz’s memo: it tries to obstruct health reform by ignoring what Obama is actually offering. Instead, Luntz is attacking an easy extreme — what he wishes the Democrats were proposing — and pretending that the Republicans actually have some kind of health care solution (the memo instructs Republicans to focus on targeting waste, fraud and abuse).

So it’s up to the administration to define health care reform as a way to lower health care costs through competition, expand coverage to all Americans and give everyone a choice of health care providers and health insurers. If the Democrats do this successfully, then Republicans will look like the bureaucratic obstructionists that they warn the public about.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

CBO math just doesn't add up

The Congressional Budget Office does not score savings from prevention, but the facts speak for themselves. An uninsured child costs the community $2,100 more than a child with Medicaid or CHIP. And every 39 seconds, another child is born uninsured. We must invest in children now, or we will pay dearly later. Real health care reform means affordable and easily accessible coverage of all medically necessary services for all children, regardless of where they live. Anything less just doesn't add up.

State of our Nation's Health Care

-Our current healthcare systems costs us $2.4 trillion a year,
-It leaves 50 million constantly to hang dry and 80+ million every year go without coverage at some point.
-Many die every year just from preventable and treatable conditions because they don't have either access or ways to pay for care.
-Medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcies.
-Large companies are shifting more and more cost to employees.
-Mid size companies are either dropping their health plans, shifting cost to employees or going into more and more catastrophic coverages.
-Small biz just cant offer health coverage because of the cost, period.
-And lets not talk about retirees and how their health plans are dropping like flies.
-And let's not talk either how the quality and the outcomes of the care we get for the "bargain' price of $2.4 trillion is well below many other countries, less "developed" than us.
-And let's not talk about the healthcare inflation that will bankrupt the rest of us in 10 years.

However after all this beautiful, perfect, rosy and dreamy, scenario, what many like the Republican party, the insurance industry and their $1.4 million/day lobby budget and some medical providers like the Mayo Clinic that profit from our broken insurance system by charging $5,000 for a physical and the so called blue dogs and conservative democrats propose is

...just wait
...don't rush
...lets think about it
...take it easy
...whats to hurry

While those stalling reform are profiting from the broken system, people keep dying and going bankrupt and many others are in danger of suffering the same fate each day we delay this.

Our healthcare crisis is a national problem and requires everybody to cooperate. It is only fair that those who has been blessed with more, give more as mandated.

If don't achieve healthcare reform now it wont happen for at least 50 years. In the meantime many more will die and go bankrupt including many businesses...and the French will continue to have the best healthcare system in the world according to the World Health organization (WHO).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Who is helping and Who is not in Healthcare Reform

I see that many of the players are doing their part in healthcare
reform: Government, Hospitals are doing their part ($155 billion),
Pharma even though they havent contributed a penny to the reform, is
sort of doing something (but not enough) in pledging $80 billion to
mitigate the Part D donut hole.

However the big MIAs are the Insurance Companies. Instead of coming to
the table to work they are spending $1.4 million a day in lobby
efforts to stop reform and competition from a public option.

The two big industries that profit more from our broken healthcare
industry: Pharma and Insurance Companies are either contributing the
less (Pharma) or doing nothing and obstructing the reform (Insurance

Brokers, Consultants should be investing their efforts in start
defining how their roles and services will be needed after reform is
enacted. Because dont get me wrong, after reform passes, the services
of Consultants and Brokers will be needed more than ever to help the
millions of companies and individuals to sort through the new system.
I dont see any efforts from the broker/consultant community to address

It is time to work not to complain and obstruct.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

POLITICO's Mike Allen's Playbook Sunday 7/5/09: BAILIN’ PALIN:

Mike Allen's Playbook Sunday 7/5/09:


--“Palin attorney warns press on 'defamatory material,’” by POLITICO’s Jonathan Martin: “Gov. Sarah Palin’s attorney threatened Saturday to sue mainstream news organizations if they publish ‘defamatory’ stories relating to whether Palin is under federal investigation. In an extraordinary four-page letter, Alaska-based attorney Thomas Van Flein warns of severe consequences should speculation that until now has largely been confined to blogs about whether Palin embezzled funds in the construction of a Wasilla, Alaska, sports arena find its way into print. ‘This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law,’ Van Flein warned, citing Alaska liberal blogger Shannyn Moore. … ‘Just as power abhors a vacuum, modern journalism apparently abhors any type of due diligence and fact checking before scurrilous allegations are repeated as fact’ … Neither The Times nor The Post made any mention of the embezzlement rumors in their Saturday editions, but sources close to Palin consider the letter a warning shot to stay away from the topic. …

“Scores of left-leaning blogs posted speculation in the wake of Palin’s surprise announcement Friday and among the most common theories was that she was on the verge of federal indictment over the 2002 construction of the sports arena. Making the case for his client, Van Flein writes that Palin, then the Mayor of Wasilla, did not oversee the Steering Committee tasked with running the project. … The attorney also addressed another of the bloggers’ claims: that Palin purchased building materials to build her own home from the same supply store as was used by those who built the arena. … As for how the Palin’s financed their home on Wasilla’s Lake Lucille, Van Flein says they ‘used a combination of personal savings, equity from the sale of their prior home, and conventional bank financing to build the house— like millions of American families. The deeds of trust are recordable public records. Basic journalism and fact checking would confirm this.’”