August 25, 2009

The PR Side of Health Care Reform


Let's take a look at some of these universal health care bill proposals from a PR perspective. Whenever a group finds something in one of these bills they're against (the possibility of a doctor making an end-of-life decision for the patient, federal funding of abortions), they go into an uproar.

And the White House always responds with, "Oh, that's just a misinterpretation of the bill."

I have yet to hear an advocate of these health care proposals say something to the effect of, "Of course there's going to be some limitations if you sign up for the government-run plan. We don't have infinite dollars, so there are unfortunately going to be some situations where a physician will have to choose not to prolong life by 'all means necessary'. It's a limitation of this plan, but for the millions of people who can't afford any health care at all right now, it's a much better situation to be in."

IF I heard this response, I would not only accept this, but be pleased to learn that these people aren't living in a fantasy world. Until them, I'm not sure what to think. Now, it's very likely they do understand this, but are being told NOT to offer any sound-bytes that detract from the infallibility of the plan, due to the leverage this would give detractors.

But, how dumb do they think we are?

From a strict PR standpoint, in order to win over the majority of Americans, do you play it straight and argue the advantages of universal coverage, or play dumb, and deny any and all downside?

3 comments:

Bobby Teenager said...

You are totally right. They are all afraid if they make that quote it will become a headline reading: "unfortunately...a physician will have to choose not to prolong life"

MicroGlyphics said...

Eric,

This end of life triage takes place in either system, so it's a red herring. Being a constant in both assessments, it should cancel out of the equation.

Here's the funny part: The debate is centered around end of life. These folks already have coverage in Medicare. How is this a valid addition to the general argument?

To me, if you want to argue of fiscal grounds, let's look at economies of scale and overhead costs. It is readily accepted that administrative costs and profits skim about a third from healthcare delivery under private insurance schemes. That amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars and also includes denial-of-service staff and advertising and marketing expenditures.

Why do we pay about twice as much as the other industrial nations and yet rank about last in quality of care? Ultimately, healthcare is a public good—not a private good. This is why private markets fail. These markets are fine for widgets but not so fine for healthcare, fire departments, libraries, and park services.

We need a single-payer solution for insurance, and the consuming agents can remain as-is for now. We should

Eric Olsen said...

i agree about the red herring. just as the "paying for abortions" isn't a new adventure in taxpayer dollars. We already fund approximately 1/3 of Planned Parenthood's operational costs.

I don't argue against nationalized healthcare on fiscal grounds either, although I would feel comfortable doing so. But, I argue against it in terms of constitutional grounds. It's not the role of the federal government to fund healthcare for the populace.