With wavering legislative and public support for his campaign for health care reform, just this past week President Obama started referring to his plan as “Health Insurance Reform” and not “Health Care Reform”. Has “ObamaCare” become just another insurance cost cutting, beer tax raising, deficit-neutral initiative? Or, is true health care reform just falling victim to lackluster messaging and a poor campaign?
Obama’s campaign “message” has evolved into: “We have to reform health care because we can’t afford not to”. He has tied his message to the economic crisis, and to the staggering costs of health care. On the surface, it’s smart: the target audience is worried about the economy – so the message responds to that.
The problem, of course, is that “Let’s reform health insurance now because we can’t afford not to” isn’t exactly “Yes We Can.” It’s also not very “I feel your pain,” and it’s hampered because there isn’t a definitive plan on paper yet. Sure, there are drafts. There are committee proposals. But the details are in flux, so The White House is out hustling for a non-existent plan and the ObamaCare message is muddled by fears of massive government spending.
I wonder if there isn’t a messaging platform with a higher calling that appeals to a moral framework as well as an economic one. Cost is important, but doesn’t “We’re Americans, we provide the best care for our seniors, our children and our neighbors” trump “Do it now or the economy will implode”.
Isn’t it a moral and economic imperative that a can-do country has to provide first-rate health care?