Pre-existing Language Condition

Pre-existing condition.

Lifetime cap.

Jargon. Jargon that gets in the way of understanding.

The President yesterday used these terms again when explaining the benefits of the Affordable Care Act that was upheld by the Supreme court.

Most Americans, barraged by conservative advertising, don’t like the law. But when asked about the law’s features, they like those. Democrats, particularly the president, have done a terrible job explaining in plain English what the law does.

How many Americans can explain “pre-existing condition” accurately?

“So you’re sick. You have diabetes,” the president should say. “You want health insurance to help pay for the huge costs of treatment and medicine. The insurance company says they won’t pay for any of the costs of treating your diabetes — can’t cover you for the very thing you need help with. So you can’t afford to get well. The Republicans think that’s okay. I don’t.

“So you have insurance, and then you get sick with diabetes. The insurance company says they won’t cover you anymore because you’re sick. The very thing you have insurance for causes the insurance company to dump you. And now you can’t afford to get well. The Republicans think that’s okay. I don’t.

“So you’ve been sick for awhile. Diabetes, skin cancer, now some broken bones. The insurance company says you’ve reached the lifetime limit of how much they’ll spend to help you, and now they won’t cover the cost of treatment. And now you can’t afford to get well. The Republicans think that’s okay. I don’t.

“Do you?”

The Institute of Medicine found almost 10 years ago that “nearly half of American adults face higher health risks because of trouble understanding medical terms and directions….Comprehending medicine’s arcane jargon is difficult for even the most educated person but is almost impossible for the millions who can’t read well, aren’t fluent in English or have vision or cognitive problems caused by aging.”

Speak more clearly, Mr. President. No jargon.

We have a friend here, my age, who pays huge monthly health insurance premiums. She doesn’t make very much money, she’s raising several young family members — grandkids, nieces — and can’t afford to pay her share of the drugs she needs. Hasn’t taken needed medication for over a year.

It’s not right. We need the reform Obama is leading. And we need him to help us understand that reform, and understand who’s standing in the way.

— Bruce Benidt

A Little Too Rowdy Of A Crowd

Political communicators work day and night to control everything about political events. The stagecraft. The music. The tempo. The supporting cast. The wardrobe. The make-up. The messaging. The media coverage.

But there is one thing that seems to be increasingly difficult for political handlers to control. The audience.

At this phase of the campaign cycle, the Republican frontrunners’ campaigns are doing their best to win partisan primary and caucus voters without spooking less partisan and zealous General Election voters watching TV coverage of events. It’s a tricky balancing act under any circumstances, and the audiences at Republicans events are making it much more difficult.

The boisterous zealots bellowing forth at nationally televised Republican events are diverting attention from the front-runners’ carefully focus group tested messaging, and instead making the candidates look bloodthirsty…

intolerant…

and heartless…

These candidates look extreme by association. These are not the warm and fuzzy images that the political handlers strive to create. Long after background flags are returned to the rental company, these Gladiator-esque reactions of the Republican crowd are what many of us remember about the moment.

A winning Republican formula in the past has been to run candidates with warm-feeling personalities to mask the harsh impact of the conservative policies they support. Reagan, Pawlenty, McCain and Romney are among those who played that game especially well. But the discordant chorus at Republican events is taking the sheen off the frontrunners’ carefully managed nice guy images.

This is not an insignificant issue for political communicators in the age of extreme political polarization. If I were a Republican spin savant, I’d be spending less time obsessing about the size of the candidates’ flag pin decal, and more time on crowd control.

Loveland

Willard in Wonderland

Source: Mike Luckovic, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Willard Mitt Romney’s biggest political vulnerability as a presidential candidate is that he passed Obamacare before President Obama did. After Romney passed the basic equivalent of Obamacare, the Republicans made a seismic shift to the right, making Romney’s golden child look like a shameful bastard child.

As a result, the Father of Romneycare and Grandfather of Obamacare has essentially three choices for managing the angry paternity claims:

MAN UP AND EMBRACE THE KID. Romney could explain why he and other Republicans were right to embrace the private sector health insurance reform model, which, by the way, is dramatically outperforming Rick Parry’s model (Massachusets has 4% uninsured, Texas is six times higher, with 24%).

CONFESS AND REPENT FOR FATHERING A BASTARD. Romney could admit the kid is his, and confess to the Tea Party that he made an unforgiveable error in fathering the reform model that is producing the best health coverage rate in the nation. (The shame!)

GO DEADBEAT AND MAKE SHIT UP. Or Romney could fabricate DNA evidence in an attempt to disprove any common lineage between Obamacare and Romneycare.

Romney has decided to go the fabrication route. In the debates this week and last, he trotted out a series of ridiculous Obamacare-Romneycare differentiators, such as:
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Tim’s Timidity on “Obamneycare”

Tim Pawlenty puzzled pundits when he failed to confront rival Mitt Romney this week about Romney’s support of an “Obamneycare” health insurance mandate. Was Tim timid because he knew Romney possessed this tape and was about to use it to portray Pawlenty as a flip-flopping hypocrite?

Again, the damning Pawlenty quote from November 14, 2006:

“I’m grateful for our friend from Massachusetts here. Governor Romney is an outstanding Governor. He is a unbelieveably bright and nimble and gifted public policy leader and Massachusetts and America have been well served by his leadership as well.

And so the question then becomes, if you’re going to require insurance, and I think that is a worthy goal and one that we are intrigued by and at least open to, how then do you enable people to access the insurance?

In Minnesota, as to the access issue, I believe we should move toward universal coverage. Everybody should be in a health plan of some sort. How we get there becomes important. I think a mandate by itself is potentially helpful, but it’s not an answer by itself.”

No one can know for sure, but this tape could explain the Timidity.

– Loveland

The Beginning of the End for Pawlenty?

Hardly anyone has noticed yet, but yesterday a Minnesota blogger may have put a fatal dagger in former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s hopes of winning the Republican nomination for President.

True North’s Andy Aplikowski is the modern-day Woodstein who reported a blockbuster yesterday that should make it much more difficult for Pawlenty to win the hearts of the hard-core right-wing activists who dominate the Iowa Republican Party caucuses.

Pawlenty’s sin? Cavorting on a boat like Gary Hart? Weeping like Ed Muskie? Bathroom stall tap dancing like Senator Larry Craig? Allegedly Tweeting his twitter to a young woman like Congressman Anthony “I kid you not” Wiener?

Much worse. Much, much worse. Once upon a time, it seems Pawlenty wanted help thousands of Minnesotans get health coverage for their families. I’m not kidding. There’s tape.

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Mitta Culpa

As a crisis communications counselor, I’ve seen that the public is generally remarkably forgiving if, and only if, the wrong-doer: a) admits the wrong without lapsing into fudging language; b) apologizes in a way that actually is perceived to be sincere; c) exhibits humanity, not robotics; and d) explains specifically how they are righting the wrong, and taking steps to ensure it will never happen again. Absent those things, I’ve also seen how brually unforgiving the public can be.

Therefore, allow me to give some pro bono advice to poor Mitt Romney, who has been accused of a very, very serious crime. I’d recommend former Governor Mitt issue a heartfelt mea culpa statement that goes something like this:

My fellow Americans, I made a mistake. And it was a doozey. For reasons I can’t explain, I helped 401,000 people in my state get health coverage for their families.

I know, I know. It was heinous. Immunizations. Cancer screenings. No medical bankruptcies. I pray that God and the American people can somehow find it in their hearts to forgive me.

I don’t have a good explanation. I guess I just lost my way by spending too much time listening to sob stories from those 401,000 uninsured whiners.

To my credit, I did leave 2% uninsured. But I realize, that’s no excuse. A 98% coverage rate – the lowest in the nation – is a disgrace to me, and my family’s good name.

For that, I am deeply, deeply, DEEPLY sorry. I want you to know that I am dedicated to ignoring the two-thirds of Massachusets citizens who support my reforms. To the one-third who oppose the reforms, and are active in Republican politics, I want you to know that I hear YOU loud and clear.

I therefore, hereby denounce the 88% of physicians practicing medicine under the wretched reforms, who claim they have improved health care quality and access for my neighbors.

But that’s not all. I promise to build a statutory lock box to prevent those reforms from ever helping 98% of the American people get medical care for their families. We can’t have that.

And if you’re still pissed at me, I’ll also throw in a bonus promise to dismantle the most effective and popular health coverage initiative in America, Medicaid. Will that do it?

While I can’t undo my past wrongs, I want to ensure the American people that I get it. I won’t ever again stoop so low as to double the health coverage rate for vulnerable children.”

He attempted to put this nightmare behind him yesterday, but it was insufficient. If His Mittness will just do the right thing, I think he will be surprised to see how forgiving the American people can be.

– Loveland

Clear Electoral Mandate On Obamacare

THIS POST HACKED.

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