Thursday, May 7, 2009

Republicans Gear Up To Say NO To Healthcare Reform A memo from Republican strategist Dr. Frank Luntz lays out plans to dismantle any effort to give all Americans access to quality health care. Dr. Luntz, the man who developed language designed to promote preemptive war in Iraq and distract from the severity of global warming, is at it again -- this time with a messaging strategy designed to sink our historic opportunity for health care reform.
Sidebar - Democratic strategist Paul Begala “is circulating a point-by-point rebuttal of GOP consultant Frank Luntz’s widely read strategy memo on health care.” The memo urges “congressional Democrats to push back hard against ‘Republican Orwellian rhetoric.’” “Because they know they cannot win the argument honestly, Republicans are resorting to mendacity,” Begala wrote in the memo. “Democrats must not let them get away with it.”
Not surprisingly, since the American public is strongly in favor of fixing the broken health care system, the Luntz strategy is predicated on deception. In his memo, Dr. Luntz lays out multiple ways that opponents of health care reform can trick and manipulate the American public.

One strategy that stood out to me is to call efforts to reform our broken health care system a "bailout for the insurance industry." This is ridiculous. This statement is developed to serve the same interests who stopped at nothing to derail health care reform in the 90's, who blocked health care coverage for low-income children, and whose top Medicare priority for 15 years has been transferring money from seniors and taxpayers to the insurance industry.

When support for a prescription drug benefit in Medicare became too powerful to ignore, President Bush and his allies created the convoluted system we now have. Rather than simply add a prescription drug benefit to the tried, true, and popular Medicare program as Democrats wanted, they devised a giveaway for insurance companies. For years Dr. Luntz's clients have virtually abdicated health care policy making to the insurance industry; the last thing it needs is a bailout.

Today though, even the insurance industry is engaged in constructive negotiations about how to repair the health care system. Unfortunately for the vast majority of Americans who support reform, however, Dr. Luntz's new game plan to stop change is being embraced by leaders in the Republican Party. In a briefing where Dr. Luntz presented his strategy to Republican House members, Rep. Mike Pence from Indiana, the chairman of the House Republican Conference, made it official by saying, "Frank is back."

So expect a massive misinformation campaign coming to a health care debate near you. Opponents using Dr. Luntz's doublespeak will argue for a "balanced, common sense approach" to health care but what they really want is to keep the system the way it is. They'll say that a public plan will not be "patient centered," but their real goal is to block accessible health care for every American. They'll say reform will deny Americans "choice" even when every American will be allowed to keep their health insurance and their doctor. They'll claim that the "quality of care will go down," while callously ignoring the fact that millions of Americans have no health care at all and millions more are denied the medications and procedures they need.

More - GOP Wastes No Time Embracing Frank Luntz’s Vapid ‘Patient-Doctor’ Health Care Rhetoric

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