Frank Luntz Is Getting Foxxy

July 08, 2009 11:22 am ET

In a July 8, 2009 statement on the House floor, Rep. Virginia Foxx regurgitated the Frank Luntz-written GOP talking points on health care reform.

Rep. "Luntz" Foxx: Republicans Want To Help Americans!

Rep. Foxx: "As the American people struggle to make ends meet, too many also live with the challenge of affording basic health care for themselves and their families.  Republicans want to make high-quality health care coverage affordable and accessible for every American, and let those who like their current health care coverage keep it." [Rep. Foxx House Floor Statement, 7/8/09]

Luntz Memo, Rule 9: "Americans will expect the government to look out for those who truly can't afford healthcare.  Here is the perfect sentence for addressing cost and the limited role for government that wins you allies rather than enemies: 'A balanced, common sense approach that provides assistance to those who truly need it and keeps health care patient-centererd rather than government-centered for everyone.'" [The Language of Healthcare 2009, by Frank Luntz, accessed 5/21/09, emphasis original]

Luntz Memo, Rule 10: "It's not enough to just say what you're against.  You have to tell them what you're forIt's okay (and even necessary) for your campaign to center around why this healthcare plan is bad for America.  But if you offer no vision for what's better for America, you'll be relegated to insignificance at best and labeled obstructionist at worst. What Americans are looking for in healthcare that your 'solution' will provide is, in a word, more: 'more access to more treatments and more doctors...with less interference from insurance companies and Washington politicians and special interests.'" [The Language of Healthcare 2009, by Frank Luntz, accessed 5/21/09, emphasis and ellipses original]  

The Democrats' Public Plan Provides "Backup Insurance" For Americans...

In Uncertain Economic Times, A Public Plan Is "Backup Insurance" For The United States' Largely Employer-Based Insurance System. According to the Economic Policy Institute: "Another reason that the health system needs a public health insurance option is that it serves as backup insurance for all Americans. While a majority of Americans are covered by employer-sponsored health insurance, many do not have access. Even among full-time workers, 17% do not have insurance. Furthermore, many people lose coverage each year when they leave their jobs and then pick it up again at a later time, spending at least brief time periods without insurance. Aside from the risks of being uninsured, these individuals and families also must deal with the disruption of changing providers, and the lack of continuity in their care." [EPI.org, 5/13/09]

...Yet, The Republican Plan Doesn't Help American Families

Republican Plan Allots $5,710 Tax Credit For Families To Purchase Health Coverage. "The Patient's Choice Act of 2009 would restore equity in the tax code and give every American, regardless of employment status, the ability to purchase health insurance by: Providing an advanceable and refundable tax credit of $2,290 per individual or $5,710 per family." [Patients Choice Act, 4/09, emphasis added]

Health Coverage For A Family Of Four "Nearly $12,700."  According to the National Health Care Coalition: "The annual premium for an employer health plan covering a family of four averaged nearly $12,700. The annual premium for single coverage averaged over $4,700." [NCHC.org, accessed 5/19/09; emphasis added]

Rep. "Luntz" Foxx: Protect The Doctor-Patient Relationship!

Rep. Foxx: "Republicans support health care reform that puts patients and their health first, and protects the important doctor-patient relationship."  [Rep. Foxx House Floor Statement, 7/8/09]

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 treatement 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]

Of Course, To Have A "Doctor-Patient Relationship," You Must First Have Access To A Doctor

Americans Face Denials For Coverage From Insurance Companies Every Day.  Americans are already facing the denial of treatments from their private insurance companies, according to the Wall Street Journal. As Diane Archer, director of the Health Care Project at Institute for America's Future recently argued in the New York Times: "As any doctor will tell you, when a private health insurance plan delays or denies a physician-recommended service, it is deciding who gets care and what kind of care people get." [Wall Street Journal, 9/25/08; New York Times, 5/8/09]

Rep. "Luntz" Foxx: The Government Is Taking Over Everything!

Rep. Foxx: "Democrats are pushing for a government takeover of health care that would have devastating consequences for families and small businesses.  A government takeover of health care will raise taxes, ration care, and let government bureaucrats make decisions that should be made by families and their doctors."  [Rep. Foxx House Floor Statement, 7/8/09]

Luntz Memo, Rule 5: "You'll notice we recommend the phrase "government takeover" rather than "government run" or "government controlled."  It's because too many politician [sic] say "we don't want a government run healthcare system like Canada or Great Britain" without explaining the consequences.  There is a better approach. 'In countries with government run healthcare, politicians make YOUR healthcare decisions. THEY decide if you'll get the procedure you need, or if you are disqualified because the treatment is too expensive or because you are too old.  We can't have that in America.'" [The Language of Healthcare 2009, by Frank Luntz, accessed 5/21/09, emphasis original]

Most Americans Want The Government To Provide More Choices

"A Public Plan Would Provide An Essential Option" For Americans.  Harold Pollack, public health policy researcher at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration and faculty chair of the Center for Health Administration Studies, wrote in an op-ed: "A public plan would provide an essential option--and an equally essential backup--for millions of Americans living with chronic illnesses or disabilities." [The New Republic, 3/10/09]

More Than 70% Of Americans Polled Want An Increased Governmental Role In Health Care.  According to CNN, "seventy-two percent of those questioned in recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey say they favor increasing the federal government's influence over the country's health care system in an attempt to lower costs and provide health care coverage to more Americans, with 27 percent opposing such a move." [CNN.com, 3/5/09]

Rep. "Luntz" Foxx: Americans Can't Wait!

Rep. Foxx: "Republicans want to empower doctors and patients by making health care more affordable, more accessible, and more accountable.  The American people deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have the health care their families need when they need it."  [Rep. Foxx House Floor Statement, 7/8/09]

Luntz Memo, Rule 3: "'Time' is the government healthcare killer.  As Mick Jagger once sang, 'Time is on Your Side.' Nothing else turns people against the government takeover of healthcare that the realistic expectation that it will result in delayed and potentially even denied treatment, procedures and/or medications. 'Waiting to buy a car or even a house won't kill you.  But waiting for the healthcare you need - could.  Delayed care is denied care.'" [The Language of Healthcare 2009, by Frank Luntz, accessed 5/21/09, emphasis original]

Americans Are Denied Health Coverage - And Thus Care - Every Single Day

Common Diseases And Conditions Are Often Reasons For Coverage Denial.  The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune reported, "in Minnesota, the most common reasons for denial are obesity, mental health conditions, hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But there are less well-known reasons insurers consider on a case-by-case basis: chemical dependency, allergies that require costly injectable drugs, a previous C-section, previous use of infertility medicine or something as simple as being pregnant." [Star Tribune, 1/10/09]

Insurance Applicants Rejected Based On Height And Weight.  In an article offering advice on what to do when you lose your health care, the Washington Post reported: "'In the past four or five years, I've had people turned down just because of height and weight,' says Jerry Patt, an independent [health insurance] agent in Gaithersburg who has been in the business for more than 35 years. 'They could be having no medical problems whatsoever, but their build was not acceptable.'" [Washington Post, 6/22/08, emphasis added]

Rep. "Luntz" Foxx: Politicians Are Bad!

Rep. Foxx: "We can not allow politicians and special interests to stand between patients and the care they need.  The American people deserve the freedom to choose the health care that is best for them and their families." [Rep. Foxx House Floor Statement, 7/8/09]

Luntz Memo, Rule 4: "The arguments against the Democrats' healthcare plan must center around 'politicians,' 'bureaucrats,' and 'Washington'...not the free market, tax incentives, or competition.  Stop talking economic theory and start personalizing the impact of a government takeover of healthcare.  They don't want to hear that you're opposed to government healthcare because it's too expensive (any help from the government to lower costs will be embraced) or because it's anti-competitive (they don't know about or care about current limits to competition.)  But they are deathly afraid that a government takeover will lower their quality of care - so they are extremely receptive to the anti-Washington approach. It's not an economic issue.  It's a bureaucratic issue." [The Language of Healthcare 2009, by Frank Luntz, accessed 5/21/09, emphasis original]

What About The Vast Insurance Company Bureaucracies?

Major Insurance Companies Pay For Access To Private Medical Information.  According to a Business Week report: "Most consumers and even many insurance agents are unaware that Humana, UnitedHealth Group, Aetna (AET), Blue Cross plans, and other insurance giants have ready access to applicants' prescription histories. These online reports, available in seconds from a pair of little-known intermediary companies at a cost of only about $15 per search, typically include voluminous information going back five years on dosage, refills, and possible medical conditions. The reports also provide a numerical score predicting what a person may cost an insurer in the future." [Business Week, 7/23/08, emphasis added]

Insurers Use The Data To Deny Coverage And To Charge Higher Premiums.  According to a Business Week report: "Two-thirds of all health insurers are using prescription data-not only to deny coverage to individuals and families but also to charge some customers higher premiums or exclude certain medical conditions from policies, according to agents and others in the industry. Some carriers are also using the data to charge small employers higher group rates." [Business Week, 7/23/08]

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