Losing the Healthcare War of Words

By Tracy Kronzak Sep 15, 2009

A week out from President Obama’s healthcare speech and I’m still angry. This feels eerily like the first year of the Clinton Presidency, when we were so sick of Reagan and Bush that we willingly embraced dubious change at best. President Obama campaigned on change, and indeed, there are some positive aspects to the Obama Plan for healthcare. But the Left has already conceded too much: No funding for abortions, public option on shaky ground at best, single payer about as likely as contact with alien life, coverage for undocumented people completely off the table. And yet, we’re grateful for anything but the system we currently have? In the meantime, the Right is scoring all kinds of points off categorically untrue accusations of Death Panels! Socialism! Illegal Immigrants! And the only people truly excited about healthcare reform are the insurance companies, who are fighting in lock-step with the Republican Party for the status quo. It seems to me that we can fight the good fight with facts, figures, frameworks, and impact statements – and this is necessary work. But we need our own rallying cry to staunch the flow of Right-wing fear mongering. And we shouldn’t be constrained by truth, because our opponents certainly aren’t. It doesn’t even seem to matter what, as long as it pulls on someone’s heartstrings – anybody remember “No Blood for Oil?” So what’s our answer to “Socialism?” Is it End the Republican: Industracare? Wealth Care? Big Box Care? Whites-only Care? Status Quo Care? No Care? Whatever it is, I posit that we should think hard and fast, and start shouting it out now. Because it’s not just a war of facts and policy, but a war of words that we’re losing.