It’s All About the Framing
From the lessons to be learned (or not) from the Massachusetts experience with health care reform comes this bit of history from James Mongan, president and CEO of Partners HealthCare: The policy matters less than the framing of it.
Speaking yesterday at a health reform forum in Washington sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Mongan, a former aide to the Senate Finance Committee and a health official under the Carter administration, said that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) was able to sell the the controversial individual mandate provision — which requires all residents to buy health insurance — by declaring it to be an issue of personal responsibility, not taxes.
He managed to put forth this idea of an individual mandate, which had been put forth before in Washington by Sen. [Robert] Dole [R-Kan.] but quickly rolled back, because people said that if an employer mandate’s a tax [then] surely an individual mandate’s a tax.
But Gov. Romney said, ‘No, it’s not a tax, it’s personal responsibility.’ And people bought this switch and framing.
Perhaps something for President Obama to consider as he weighs how to present his health reform demands to Congress and the country.