The Most Effective Message for Health Care Debate

Based on national surveys, web-based narrative testing, and dial-meter and focus group reactions to President Obama’s Joint-Session address conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Democracy Corps.


  1. Be on the offensive, forcefully stating, “The Obama plan will help the middle class and you by giving peace of mind – stable, affordable insurance you can never lose, even if you get sick or lose a job.”
  2. Reject the status quo, forcefully stating, “Keeping health insurance unchanged means that you will pay twice as much in premiums and out-of-pocket costs in the coming years, and insurance companies will still be able to call the shots and walk away when you need coverage most.”
  3. Reassure, forcefully stating, “You will have the freedom to keep your current plan and doctor or to choose another, but the choice is yours. No one will ever be forced to change their doctor or insurance.”
  4. Explain specifically how the Obama plan works to give peace of mind and keep costs down:
  • The Obama plan creates a health insurance exchange – a marketplace where insurance companies are forced to compete for our business and where individuals and small business will be able to comparison shop for the best and most affordable plan. This is the way everyone in Congress gets affordable insurance, and every American should have the same choice.
  • The Obama plan will make the insurance you have work better for you, because right now, insurance companies maximize their profits by dropping people when they get sick or using fine print to deny needed treatments. As soon as this plan is signed, it will be against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition or drop your coverage when you get sick and need it most.
  • The Obama plan protects Medicare and Medicare benefits and improves care for seniors by closing the “donut hole” – the gap in Medicare coverage that forces millions of seniors to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for prescription drugs. That’s why the AARP says this plan is good for seniors.

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