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Speaking of FRAMING, a pet peeve of ours is the general inability to de-couple the terms “health care” and “insurance coverage” when thinking about health care reform.  We would also be better served to stop thinking in terms of premiums and claims.  It is a good idea to start thinking about health care as necessary to a common good.  Maybe even a human right.

The insurance model with which we have struggled for the last umpteen years is filled with words like deductible, co-pay, preexisting condition, and eligibility.  All of these ideas, that we hold so closely in our conscious thoughts regarding health care, are nothing more than accepted (or more appropriately, unconscious) signals for additional out of pocket payments.  We shy away from “higher premium packages” accepting the responsibility of paying higher “co-pays and deductibles”, hoping to beat the odds. We “insure” ourselves against illness rather than committing to building a healthier society. We have been conditioned to think of health care in insurance-ese rather than in terms of care needs.  In short, we are prisoners of insurance industry framing. 

We would like to recommend a jailbreak.  Once safely on the outside, we could think in terms of “programs” instead of  “packages”, “wellness” rather than  “illness” and “needs ” as opposed to “allowable services”.  We could laugh in the faces of those who dourly offer the incantation of “Socialized Medicine” and call it “Freedom to be Healthy” instead.  We could stop worrying about how much “we” are paying to fund health care for Tom and Harry and instead look upon a healthier society as a shared goal which is necessary for a strong national defense. 

The jailbreak won’t come easily.  We will have to discard “preexisting” notions, “disallow” prior prejudices and rule “ineligible” insurance industry jargon. We will need to develop new framing ideas that underscore our dedication to health care reform.  If we should falter along the way, we need only recall the lost opportunity to reframe the Iraqi “War” as the Iraqi “Occupation”, thereby endowing  GWB with the ability to control the debate by stating , “We’re at war”!  Change comes one frame at a time. Lets start reframing this debate.