Here’s what’s up. The current story around healthcare in America is now:

Problem: Barack Obama (and Congress) vs. the People

Solution: Tea Party!

The Joker image that the racists have created & spread says it all. It’s deep. Let’s deconstruct it, shall we?

The image is from the most recent Batman movie. The Joker character was played by Heath Ledger who died of a drug overdose and won a posthumous Oscar. This was a breakout role for the handsome actor with the sweet face who usually played romantic leads. The Joker is criminally insane, vicious, brilliant, angry, anarchic and sex-crazed. He wants to make people uncomfortable and to screw the system…just because.

So by extension, the forces against better healthcare for Americans want you to feel that Obama in whiteface is not what he seems. Obama the Socialist Joker delights in screwing the people and will tear apart the fabric of American society for the thrill of it. Painting Obama as an uncaring criminal bent on disruption plays straight into racist fears, particularly for older generations.

Hmm. Hard to believe it’s gotten this bad.

To flip the script, the Obama administration needs to turn the story into:

Problem: Giant Greedy Insurance Companies vs. the People (which is what’s true)

Solution: Americare or The American Plan

The Obama administration was so busy playing the inside-baseball game to keep all the stakeholders at the table and get the needed votes that no one was talking to the public. Until the GOP and the insurance companies stepped into the gap. This is still the case. That needs to get turned around right now. It’s still possible since the forces standing against reform have no ideas or plans for how to make our families healthier. They are the criminals. Expose them — and their callous disregard for our family members which is motivated by nothin’ more than money.

Stop calling using words like “Healthcare reform” and “public option” — both of which sound simultaneously boring and frightening. How about “better healthcare” or “the healthcare Americans deserve”? The planned joint session of Congress for a big Obama speech to reset the debate is a great idea. But the Prez won’t get many more chances to apply some Preparation H to America’s irritated behind.

Barack — you need to talk to America about this subject like you would rap it to Toots and your Grandpa. It must be that basic. You need to get back to being not the Joker, but our Batman.

George Lakoff, who is not only a nice man but one of the smartest I’ve met, wrote this analysis of the Obama administration’s missteps and offers some cogent, practical recommendations. His DailyKos diary is called The PolicySpeak Disaster for Healthcare. Team Obama betta dig. Lakoff wants to help you. Listen to him. I’m including some excerpts after the jump…

The PolicySpeak Disaster

PolicySpeak is the principle that: If you just tell people the policy facts, they will reason to the right conclusion and support the policy wholeheartedly.

PolicySpeak is the principle behind the President’s new Reality Check Website.  To my knowledge, the Reality Check Website, has not had a reality check. That is, the administration has not hired a first-class cognitive psychologist to take subjects who have been convinced by right-wing myths and lies, have them read the Reality Check website, and see if the Reality Check website has changed their minds a couple of days or a week later. I have my doubts, but do the test.



As for language, the term “public option” is boring. Yes, it is public, and yes, it is an option, but it does not get to the moral and inspiring idea. Call it the American Plan, because that’s what it really is.

The American Plan. Health care is a patriotic issue. It is what your countrymen are engaged in because Americans care about each other. The right wing understands this well. It’s got conservative veterans at Town Hall meeting shouting things like, “I fought for this country in Vietnam, and I’m fight for it here.” Progressives should be stressing the patriotic nature of having our nation guaranteeing care for our people.

A Health Care Emergency. Americans are suffering and dying because of the failure of insurance company health care. 50 million have no insurance at all, and millions of those who do are denied necessary care or lose their insurance. We can’t wait any longer. It’s an emergency. We have to act now to end the suffering and death.

Doctor-Patient care. This is what the public plan is really about. Call it that. You have said it, buried in PolicySpeak. Use the slogan. Repeat it. Have every spokesperson repeat it.

Coverage is not care. You think you’re insured. You very well may not be, because insurance companies make money by denying you care.

Deny you care… Use the words. That’s what all the paperwork and administrative costs of insurance companies are about – denying you care if they can.
Insurance company profit-based plans. The bottom line is the bottom line for insurance companies. Say it.

Private Taxation. Insurance companies have the power to tax and they tax the public mightily. When 20% – 30% of payments do not go to health care, but to denying care and profiting from it, that constitutes a tax on the 96% of voters that have health care. But the tax does not go to benefit those who are taxed; it benefits managers and investors. And the people taxed have no representation. Insurance company health care is a huge example of taxation without representation. And you can’t vote out the people who have taxed you. The American Plan offers an alternative to private taxation.

Is it time for progressive tea parties at insurance company offices?

Doctors care; insurance companies don’t. A public plan aims to put care back into the hands of doctors.

Insurance company bureaucrats.  Obama mentions them, but there is no consistent uproar about them. The term needs to come into common parlance.

Insurance companies ration care. Say it and ask the right questions: Have you ever had to wait more than a week for an authorization? Have you ever had an authorization turned down? Have you had to wait months to see a specialist? Does you primary care physician have to rush you through? Have your out-of-pocket costs gone up? Ask these questions. You know the answers. It’s because insurance companies have been rationing care. Say it.

Insurance companies are inefficient and wasteful. A large chunk of your health care dollar is not going for health care when you buy from insurance companies.
Insurance companies govern your lives. They have more power over you than even governments have. They make life and death decisions. And they are accountable only to profit, not to citizens.

The health care failure is an insurance company failure. Why keep a failing system? Augment it. Give an alternative.

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