The Language of Reform

Friday, July 24, 2009


As Washington debates what to do about health care, each side has put forth its favorite terms like ration, public-option, and government takeover to frame the discussion. Frank Luntz, author and Republican wordsmith, put out a memo called "The Language of Healthcare 2009." He says his ten rules will help Republicans stop the "Washington takeover" of health care.

Comments [13]

Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Leave it to "Jack" to think the village idiot, who allows the lies "Jack" prefers to believe are truth to pass uncontested (sorry, Mike!), would make a great "new permanent hosts" (sic).

Jul. 31 2009 09:25 AM

I know Luntz has a vested interest in not believing in "hell". Too bad for him if there is one because that is where he is going straight to.

Jul. 29 2009 02:59 PM
John R. from Virginia

Words, Words, what words do we use? How about stepping back and asking..should the Government be involved in running a public business that will compete with existing businesses? Should the Government be a player in industry or should they be a regulator? Everyone knows that the government makes the rules for these industries, do you really think they will put a rule in place that will lessen their ability to compete with private business. It is a bad idea for Government to take on private industry, if we want to keep any semblance of free markets.

Jul. 29 2009 11:31 AM
Jack from Chicago

I'm excited to think we have new permanent hosts for the show. The old ones were getting too predictable and stale. Thanks for freshening it up! Great show!

Jul. 28 2009 11:09 PM
Marilyn O'Connor from Boston, MA

Your site makes it so easy to give feedback. Thank you for that. I agree with Rick Evans (#5) on the socialized medicine reference and would extend the comment further. In almost, if not, every answer, the guest slipped in a non-factual piece of information. It was almost like a many times could he create confusion by re-defining a term, by mis-attribution, or some other tactic. This guest took the opportunity on your show to actually sow confusion and he should be confronted. Would you take the time to do an answer by answer analysis of his interview? It would be a great piece of journalism - to "out" him at his own game. And then spread it to other media outlets.
PS A Canadian journalist appeared on NPR. She said the the facts of Christine Taylor's case are easily available and commented that US journalists haven't even bothered to check before going with the story.

Jul. 28 2009 01:28 PM
alex from Brooklyn

How long into the first segment before the substitute host messed something up?

Well, the "public option" is NOT government funded healthcare. So, that would be less than 3 minutes, perhaps even less than two.

The public option would still have health care premiums, and the Democrats have made clear that the public option would be but subsidized by government. That is, this program would have to support itself.

So, what is the government funding that Mr. Pesca (?) was referring to?

Jul. 27 2009 09:17 PM
David Villa from Austin TX

You didn't stick this guy to his answers. Is it a takeover? Question avoided. Is it a crisis? Almost the same tactic used. And by the way, Lewis Black beat you to the 5 out of 5 joke.

Jul. 27 2009 04:51 AM
L from NJ

Want to help get the health insurers and government out from between you and your doctor? Eliminate the middle man. One third of all health care dollars go towards administration. Insurance should be for expensive procedures and hospitalizations, not allergy medicines and eczema creams. Until Americans reduce their expectations for their health insurance to cover EVERYTHING, and until they stop demanding expensive antibiotics for viral infections and MRI's at the first sign of low back pain, they system will continue to go broke, as will the country. Get realistic America, medical insurance was created for serious and catastrophic issues and has since has expanded out of control to cover everything under the sun.

Jul. 26 2009 10:30 PM
Rick Evans from Northeast

Hey Pesca!

How'd you let Frank Luntz slip the socialized medicine comment past you unchallenged? I don't recall ever hearing any Democrat advocate "socialized medicine"; i.e. the federal government nationalizing the medical industrial complex. That's an epithet spewed by Luntz' clients to attack almost any Democratic plan.

The closest to anything like the falsehood suggested by Luntz is Dennis Kucinich's advocacy for a single payer system. Even Kucinich doesn't or hasn't used the phrase socialized medicine. C'mon Mike! I doubt Brooke or Bob would have let the Luntz get away with that throwaway line.

Jul. 26 2009 03:10 PM
Cathie from UTah and sometimes Canada

Ps this is the Cnd govt wait times from health canada the regulates and funds the provincial FREE, health care. BTW Most province you pay premiums and top of high taxes and then you stll have to buy private insurance for things govt health care does not cover> RX eyes, therapy and ambulance.

and the baby that was turned away for health care in Canada.

Jul. 25 2009 05:43 PM
Cathie from UTah and sometimes Canada

I moved to Canada via marriage with an autistic child. I could not find a dr to see her. THey choose you not you them. I called every dr list the govt has from Windsor Ont to Ottwa a distance of over 400 miles and east and west. They did not even mandate hand washing for docs until swine flu hit. I was there at the tail end of sairs. Their nurses balked when the SARS report mandated they do infectious disease mesuare like temp taking which has been standard for decades in the US. Hospitals. all govt run and funded, single source, the only western nation to do this, there are not cleand and sanitized the ways american hospitals are. I heard what the Cnd reporter said. They themselves constantly put down our system and never get the facts straight. I write to them about it all the time, the Cnd media that is.
They have to constantly send high risk cases like pregnancy and high riske babies to the US. Lack of beds. There was just just a case recently in Buffalo NY.
The Hamilton Spectator has written at lengtha about this. Canada is tight lipped aboiut any American criticism towards thier health care system. Here is the truth on wait times from the gov itself per province. Your Cnd guest lied and as usual with the media there lied or was very badly informed. The cnd media pull the wool over thier own readers eyes often to the dismay of even the Cnd govt as made public on govt press release sites.

I was there 3 yrs.
My child is on US medicaid now as she is an adult and my mom was on medicare. That systems is still far superior to thiers and we have had private insurance and no insurance. I would still rather have ours.

Jul. 25 2009 05:40 PM
E Fitz Smith from Fairfield CT

Regarding Maureen Taylor's interview - On The Media / NPR

If Christine Taylor had a active growth on her pituitary - possibly producing Cushing's Disease or Acromegaly - I bet she would refuse to wait 6 months or more to have a hormone producing tumor removed that was either decreasing her vision, even to blindness and inducing diabetes - or - causing her hands, head and other body parts to grow large beyond normalcy, including an increased potential for heart failure and cancerous intestinal polyps.

Why wait to become a much larger burden on the Canadian health system - or dead?

I just don't believe that Taylor would herself be able to perform in her own job for six months without immediate, correct medical intervention.

"Untreated Cushing's syndrome can lead to heart disease and increased mortality."

Jul. 25 2009 02:49 PM
Jodi Godfrey from Montlclair NJ

I had to stop listening. The portrayal of the words used by Frank Luntz as fact, as he says, is destructive to any meaningful discussion of our health care system. A public option would remove that HMO or insurance rep from the dicision making, and would be replaced NOT by a government person, but evidence based best practices--Sceince--would be what determined care as delivered by medical professionals. Airing this interview only adds to the confusion and allows the conservative agenda to be served. There is no news here. There is no balance here. There isn't even an honest questioning. Come on, you can do better than this when we are at a crisis. And the crisis does not just concern the uninsured. I, like many others in NJ are self employed, our options are limited and inadequate. Reform is essential. Lies only promise to deepen the crisis.

Jul. 25 2009 07:38 AM

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