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Re-Branding Health Care Reform

For several months now, the battle over health care reform has raged, not only on Capitol Hill, but on Main Street. The divide between the two sides — Right and Left, public option and less government, those who think it’s worth the money and those who think it’s too much money — could be easily filled with a little creative branding.
Consider: instead of "Health Care Reform," let’s give the issue a name that’s more attractive, more palatable to the minority. With just a little thinking, I’ve been able to come up with three options that are tried and true.

First, instead of "Health Care Reform," we should call it "The War on Health Care," for we know that those on the Right will dump truckloads of money into anything called "war." As in "War on Terrorism." As in the ongoing Bush-Republican initiated debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan. As in the futile, hopeless "war" that has so far cost taxpayers between $750 billion to nearly $1 trillion (depending on who you want to believe).

It is worth noting that the health care reform currently proposed will cost an estimated $1 trillion over ten years. And with that money, we can join other first-world countries that provide health care to all, not just those who can afford to pay for it. That’s a bargain compared to the $1 trillion spent in just six years halfway across the world; money that has contributed to killing thousands of U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan citizens.

Don’t like the reference to war? No problem! Instead of "Health Care Reform," let’s call it "The Health Care Bailout (or Rescue) Program." Remember, we’re trying to make this attractive to the Right, and as we’ve learned from the past year, Republicans just love bailouts.

If we can tie the bailout to business, say, the financial industry, that would be best. Experience has shown (Wall Street = easy bailout with lots of money, Auto Industry = pulling teeth for much smaller sums) white collars will be favored over blue collars, so in this approach, we need to squash talk of "helping all Americans."

And talk about a bargain! At $1 trillion over ten years, The "Health Care Bailout Program" (H.A.R.P., for Healthy Americans Rescue Program) is like tip money compared to the $800 billion dropped on Wall Street in just a few months last year. Depending on who you want to believe, the lasting cost of the Wall Street bailout will easily be in the trillions of dollars. And what did we get for that? Don’t ask.

So, you don’t like references to war or bailouts? A little too negative, perhaps? I’ve one more option. Instead of "Health Care Reform," let’s try "The Health Care Stimulus Program." I have a home builder friend who is quite pleased that the government is "stimulating" his business with incentives like the first time home buyers credit, which was just recently expanded (read: more tax dollars) to anyone who has owned their home for five years or more and wishes to buy another.

My builder friend is on the Chamber of Commerce side of the aisle on health care reform. "A trillion dollars for health care? That’s a lot of money! We can’t keep raising taxes on the American people, and especially on American business!" But we can certainly SPEND money stimulating a business or industry! So, let’s just say we’re "stimulating" health care, and voila!, instant support from the Right!

It is easy to see the hypocrisy of those who claim health care reform is too expensive. It is amazing that politicos who haven’t batted an eye about spending hundreds of billions in Iraq to ostensibly improve the lives of those halfway around the world, balk at spending the same amount of money to improve the lives of those who live in this country.

It is ludicrous that those who voted to spend nearly a trillion dollars to bailout a financial system that, like a chameleon, changes from capitalistic to socialistic to capitalistic based on profit and loss, would say offering health care to all Americans is too expensive.

Plenty of money for war, Wall Street, and big business, while money is tight for health, education and welfare. And, of course, these same politicos ballyhoo their concern about Main Street America. Truly, actions speak louder than words.

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