Friday, July 31, 2009

Watch For Change In Health Reform Debate

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying out a new argument in the health reform debate. And if it resonates you can expect to see the Democrats, led by heath care reform cheerleader-in-chief Barack Obama, use it as the new rallying cry.

Pelosi is arguing that the health insurance companies are the real "villains'' here.

If the Democrats can portray the health insurance companies as evil, their plan to give government a hand in providing health care to Americans may just pick up steam.

Many people are frightened by the prospect of the government deciding our health care. They are concerned about government's ability to manage a program. And they fear health care rationing under a government plan.

But if health reform proponents can switch the focus from these concerns to the reality of the health insurance industry the public may view this as a lesser of two evils issue. And if the public can get behind a plan, the Democrats feel Congress will have no choice but to play along.

Here's how the argument will likely go. Insurance companies already are determining what health care their subscribers will get. Many doctors call this practicing without a license - especially when the insurance companies refuse to fund medications or procedures the doctors believe to be medically essential to their employees.

Thus far, the more the president speaks about his health reform bill, the more it - and he - lose popularity in the polls. He needs to do what he did so well during the campaign: define and get on message. Pelosi's villain comment is just the first step.

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