Thursday, September 10, 2009

America's Character: Defining Health Care as a Moral Issue

I loved Obama's speech last night.

He had many excellent frames. I've been advocating for him to use George Lakoff's frame's of health care and he did just that.

A classic frame was talking about the public option like public colleges: "But by avoiding some of the overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits and excessive administrative costs and executive salaries, it could provide a good deal for consumers, and would also keep pressure on private insurers to keep their policies affordable and treat their customers better, the same way public colleges and universities provide additional choice and competition to students without in any way inhibiting a vibrant system of private colleges and universities. "

Most importantly he brought health care from a policy issue to a moral issue. He first brought up stories of people who can't pay for their health care. You can see another example, of a boy's family who can't pay for his cancer care here:

He then brought up Teddy's letter on why a fellow American thought that his fellow Americans should have the same access to care that he did.

"On issues like these, Ted Kennedy's passion was born not of some rigid ideology, but of his own experience. It was the experience of having two children stricken with cancer. He never forgot the sheer terror and helplessness that any parent feels when a child is badly sick. And he was able to imagine what it must be like for those without insurance, what it would be like to have to say to a wife or a child or an aging parent, there is something that could make you better, but I just can't afford it. "

Continuing he puts health care in the frame of the Family of Americans:

"That large-heartedness -- that concern and regard for the plight of others -- is not a partisan feeling. It's not a Republican or a Democratic feeling. It, too, is part of the American character -- our ability to stand in other people's shoes; a recognition that we are all in this together, and when fortune turns against one of us, others are there to lend a helping hand; a belief that in this country, hard work and responsibility should be rewarded by some measure of security and fair play; and an acknowledgment that sometimes government has to step in to help deliver on that promise."

Keep talking about health care as a moral issue. It IS in our country's character to get everyone health care. Keep telling the stories of friends and family who were denied by insurance companies for life saving care. We are here to end that, because that is not the way we live in America.

"We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it. I still believe we can act even when it's hard. ... I still believe we can do great things, and that here and now we will meet history's test. Because that's who we are. That is our calling. That is our character."

Thank you President Obama, for speaking to our hearts.
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