Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rebranding Health Care Reform

Since the Republican fear mongering about death panels and death books has not yet completely destroyed President Obama's health reform initiatives they've recently decided to try a new tactic: Rebranding the term "universal health coverage" as "government-run health care". Not only does it put the verboten verbiage "government" front and center but it also handily fits into the right-wing talking point of "If the government can't even run 'blank', then how are they going to blah, blah, blah?"

Perhaps this is envy on my part but it seems to me that the political left in this country completely lacks the ability to frame debates using catchy or cleverly named policy initiatives the way the right does. Aside from the aforementioned death panels and books, legislation like the Clear Skies Initiative (which actually allowed for an increase in air pollution), the Healthy Forests Initiative (which actually allowed for an increase in logging and deforestation) and the Patriot Act (which actually allowed the decidedly unpatriotic acts of government eavesdropping and torture of US citizens) was not only extraordinarily Orwellian but was also passed extremely successfully by the Bush administration. Meanwhile, the Democrats have only been able to come up with relatively unimaginative and blasé policy monikers like SCHIP and "economic stimulus package" (even the fairly successful "Cash for Clunkers" program sounds like a child suggested it).

So now hot on the heels of Ted Kennedy's recent death the Republicans have predictably started frothing at the collective mouth over the prospect of the Democrats naming Obama's health care initiative after the late senator, claiming that it would be some kind of disrespectful, crass exploitation of the man's passing and the sympathy it has elicited from the American public. Call me crazy but I'm pretty sure that not only would Kennedy be deeply honored if this bill carried his name but that he'd also whole-heartedly approve of using this marketing technique to ultimately get it passed into law. I know that if using my name after my own death helped achieve anything I'd repeatedly referred to as "the cause of my life" I'd be posthumously all for it, respect for the dead be damned.

But upon further reflection I've decided that merely naming the bill after Kennedy still might not be enough to achieve this critically needed legislative victory, so I've taken the liberty of coming up with some alternate branding names/catch phrases that might elicit a bit more public support:

- Health Care '09: The Rehealthening

- Who Wants to Live Forever? (this one is just for the Queen/Highlander fans)

- I Can't Believe It's Not Socialized Medicine!

- Super Happy Fun Time Feel Good Plan (suggested by my Korean grocer)

- President Obama's No Drama, Less Trauma Health Care Plan

- So You Think You're Healthier Than a 5th Grader?

- Twilight (just to capitalize on the current popularity)

- We Promise You Won't Get Michael Jackson's Doctor...

- Now Death Panel-Free!

- Home of the Glenn Beck-ectomy
I hadn't meant for that to resemble a top ten list when I started writing it but apparently all those hours watching David Letterman as a boy had a much bigger impact than I thought. Have any other health care plan rebranding suggestions? Feel free to drop them in the comment section.

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