Thursday, May 07, 2009

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Frank Luntz is the man responsible for "ownership society", "death taxes" and "tax relief"; all terms which give debates a conservative frame. Now he has come out with the wingnut dictionary on how to talk health care. For example:

Luntz Tip No. 1: Scare people. Especially about their children. Luntz's memo includes a road map to how to most effectively scare the bejeezus out of the American public when it comes to health care. Results show the phrase health care rationing frightened the most people, so Republicans are urged to sprinkle it around describing Democratic reform plans. It's also better to warn that Democrats want to put politicians in charge of health care, rather than bureaucrats: "Bureaucrats are scary — but at least they are professionals."

The Republicans are always about scaring people. There's a terrorist under your bed and a politician will operate on your tonsils, unless you do exactly as Frank Luntz wants you to do!

In any case, all health care systems ration care, even the current American one (which does it through the ability or inability to pay for care and through health insurance denials).

I hope someone in the Obama administration is busily creating an alternative system of frames for this topic, including the concept of "freedom from manufactured fear."