(for the other 95% of America)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

'Job-Killing' or 'People-Saving' Healthcare?

Republican strategists never fail to amaze me with their ability to frame debates around issues that affect Americans. Usually the Democrats are not as well apt at this as their counterparts are, but the White House today made a slam dunk in their efforts to reframe the debate on healthcare.

Today the Secretary of Health and Human Services released a study showing that as many as 129 million Americans who have pre-existing health conditions will have to pay for as much as two to three times the amount for healthcare insurance than they would without the healthcare bill, and that's only if they are not completely rejected by the healthcare companies. The fact is that for profit healthcare insurance will not voluntarily cover people who have a higher chance of getting sick. I mean come on, how cost-effective is it to take care of sick people? Where's the money in that?

Reading the news about this study today was a sigh of relief. Republicans have managed to deflect debate over the healthcare bill (see video), and instead debate over the wording of the bill. Should the phrase ‘job-killing’ be in the bill? Is it too soon to use a charged word like ‘killing’ after the tragedy in Tucson? Do we need to tone down the rhetoric? Should Republicans and Democrats sit together during the State of the Union speech? This is what you have been reading in the news for the past week, while we should have been having a debate on the issues. Healthcare will obviously, as we see from this study, have a negative impact on millions of people’s lives, and the bill will probably create jobs not 'kill them.' Democrats should be excited that we may as a nation have a REAL debate.

But that’s exactly what Republicans don’t want. Denying healthcare to over a hundred million Americans is not a winning strategy, so the Republicans have simply changed the topic.

The Obama administration has done the nation a huge service in reframing the debate. Let the Republicans talk about the ‘job-killing’ bill, and lets talk about the ‘people-saving’ healthcare bill. Do you enjoy living? Breathing? Waking up in the morning? Then you’re going to need healthcare.

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