Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Health Reform Debate: Sad Stories from Both Sides of the Political Aisle

With Republicans determined to disrupt implementation of the new health-care law and promote their own fixes to Medicaid and Medicare, and Democrats hopeful of swaying a stubbornly divided public to embrace the law as it takes effect between now and 2014, no one expects the fight to let up anytime soon. And for Democrats and supporters of the law, the weapon of choice is the compelling individual story, a tool honed by former President Ronald Reagan that has been archived and analyzed, computerized and systematized to new levels for this battle.

N.C.Aizermann, “Individual Stories Weapons of Choice in Fight over Health Care Law, “ Washington Post, April 9, 2011

April 12, 2001 - Expect Democrats and Republicans to feature health care sob stories in the upcoming reform debate.

Democrats are better at this anecdotal game than Republicans. Their base is the “have-nots” and others who depend on Medicare and Medicaid. At Families USA, one of their affiliates, Democrats have collected a vast database of compelling individual stories.

Today, April 12, Democrats will trot out 5 stories from 5 states, to be followed relentlessly by other tales of woe from those who have benefited from the health care law. The personal narrative, as told on video and at Congressional hearings, will be the centerpiece of their political strategy. The White House website contains a clickable map of video testimonials “50 states with 50 stories,” asking viewers to share their experiences on the subject “How is the Affordable Act helping you?”

Meanwhile Republicans are collecting stories on a theme that might be called, “How the Affordable Care Act is hurting you now and in the future.” It will feature stories from people who will say they have had to drop coverage because of soaring premiums, from employers who will say they can no longer afford to cover employers because of increased costs related to Obamacare, and from budget-minded politicians who will say “Your children and your grand-children will left without care” because the nation will be bankrupt.”

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