Rep. Rodgers Uses Personal Story To Supplement Luntz Talking Point On Health Care

June 05, 2009 1:15 pm ET

In a June 5, 2009 blog post at The Hill titled, "Protecting Your Personal Health," Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers used her personal story as a mother to make a talking point from GOP pollster Frank Luntz resonate. But as a member of Congress, Rep. Rodgers enjoys the kind of health care other families can only dream of. Once again, a Republican member of Congress offers empty words and no solutions on health care.

We've Heard This Before: "The Doctor-Patient Relationship Must Be Protected"

Rep. Rodgers: "Your health is a very personal issue, and as we approach solutions to health care, Americans deserve to know that they're going to have access to a doctor and nurse they can trust. That doctor-patient relationship must be protected." [The Hill, 6/5/09]

Rep. Rodgers: "You're going to see Republicans coming up with reforms that will address the rising cost of health care. These reforms will protect the doctor-patient relationship and ensure our leadership on the health care front." [The Hill, 6/5/09]

Luntz Memo, Rule 7: "One-size-does-NOT-fit-all." The idea that a "committee of Washington bureaucrats" will establish the standard of care for all Americans and decide who gets what treatment based on how much it costs is anathema to Americans. Your approach? Call for the "protection of the personalized doctor-patient relationship." It allows you to fight to protect and improve something good rather than only fighting to prevent something bad. [The Language of Healthcare 2009, by Frank Luntz, accessed 5/21/09, emphasis original]

Rep. Rodgers Recounts Her Personal Experience As A Mother To Illustrate The Sanctity Of The Doctor-Patient Relationship...

Rep. Rodgers: "As a mom, I can tell you that when your son or daughter is sick, there is nothing on your mind more than making sure you can help your child feel better...Your health is a very personal issue, and as we approach solutions to health care, Americans deserve to know that they're going to have access to a doctor and nurse they can trust. That doctor-patient relationship must be protected." [The Hill, 6/5/09]

Luntz Memo, Rule 1: "Humanize your approach. Abandon and exile ALL references to the "healthcare system." From now on, healthcare is about people. Before you speak, think of the threecomponents of tone that matter most: Individualize. Personalize. Humanize." [The Language of Healthcare 2009, by Frank Luntz, accessed 5/21/09, emphasis original]

... But Rep. Rodgers Benefits From A Doctor-Patient Relationship Most People In This Country Have Never Experienced

The Coverage Used By The Majority Of Members Of Congress Includes No Annual Or Lifetime Limits For Major Services. The health insurance plan used my most members of congress, which has no annual or lifetime limit, covers "family planning," "inpatient and outpatient surgery," "physical, occupational and speech therapy," "maternity care," and "chemotherapy and radiation therapy." [ConsumerReports.org, 5/09]

"Twenty Percent Of Americans Say They Have Delayed Or Postponed Medical Care, Mostly Doctor Visits, And Many Said Cost Was The Main Reason." According to MSNBC: "Twenty percent of Americans say they have delayed or postponed medical care, mostly doctor visits, and many said cost was the main reason, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters released on Monday. That figure is up since 2006, the last time the question was asked on the survey, when 15.9 percent of people said they had postponed or canceled medical care in the past year." [MSNBC.MSN.com, 4/20/09]

Non-English Speaking Patients Report Poor Relationships With The Doctors Who Treat Them.  In March 2008, the Commonwealth Fund published a report titled, Racial and Ethnic Disparities in U.S. Health Care: A Chartbook.  According to the report, "adults whose primary language is not English are more likely to report that their providers sometimes or never listened carefully, explained things clearly, respected what they said, and spent enough time with them." [CommonwealthFund.org, accessed 2/12/09]

Physicians Primarily Serving Black Patients Reported Difficulty In Providing High-Quality Care For Their Patients.  In March 2008, the Commonwealth Fund published a report titled, Racial and Ethnic Disparities in U.S. Health Care: A Chartbook.  According to the report, "primary care physicians that primarily cared for black patients were more likely to report difficulty in providing high-quality care than physicians who primarily cared for white patients.  Specifically, these physicians reported they were less able to provide access to high-quality subspecialists, to high-quality diagnostic imaging, to nonemergency hospital admissions, and to high-quality ancillary services." [CommonwealthFund.org, accessed 2/12/09]

"Distrust Of The Medical Community" A Factor In The Quality Of Care For Minority Patients.  In March 2008, the Commonwealth Fund published a report titled, Racial and Ethnic Disparities in U.S. Health Care: A Chartbook.  According to the report, "besides language factors, distrust of the medical community may also prevent the delivery of truly patient-centered care.  Black and Hispanic patients reported lower confidence and less trust in their specialist than white patients." [CommonwealthFund.org, accessed 2/12/09]

Once Again, A Republican Promises Solutions But Offers Only Empty Rhetoric

Rep. Rodgers: "We've also got to control costs. You're going to see Republicans coming up with reforms that will address the rising cost of health care. These reforms will protect the doctor-patient relationship and ensure our leadership on the health care front." [The Hill, 6/5/09]

Republicans keep telling us what we're "going to see," but they have yet to explain how they plan to achieve these things and address America's health care crisis.

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