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Language on Health Care for Conservatives

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently put out a fascinating summary of data on health care overhaul plans that showed wide variations in opinion on the issue depending on how the question was posed.  When we see this in public opinion it can give us great insight into framing the debate.

WRS analyzed the language of the questions and derived four simple rules for Republicans to remember when discussing the Democratic plan. 

  • Discuss the costs in specific, personal detail.  The quickest way to motivate opposition to nationalized health care is to remind most Americans that their taxes and their premiums will go up. 
  • Focus on the universality of the proposal.  If the benefits are not going to benefit them personally, Americans are less willing to pay for them. 
  • Don’t let Democrats pretend that only “the rich” will pay for health care.  The strongest argument proponents of health care overhaul have is that “someone else” will foot the bill for this.  Democrats are obviously aware of this and should not be allowed to get away with it. 
  • Most importantly, a personal price tag must be added to every proposal.  Specific numbers build opposition to this proposal.  Americans can’t understand and don’t care about billions and trillions, but they do care about $500 in new taxes for themselves or $100 in additional healthcare premiums

For more on our assessment of language to use to frame the health care debate see our full assessment on the issue at http://www.w-r-s.com/nationalassessment/.

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