Reframing newsletter

Health Policy Affects Us All

October 19, 2017

Health care continues to be a priority concern for human service advocates, even as Congress has so far been unable to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Advocates are rallying right now to address a number of recent policy changes and proposals that will undermine health and well-being in communities across the country if implemented. Including other actions, advocates are calling on Congress and the Administration to:

  • Extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has been a cornerstone of health and well-being for twenty years. Congress allowed funding for CHIP to expire at the end of the September.
  • Reverse the President’s recently announced decision to end a cost-sharing subsidy for insurance companies, a policy change that is expected to destabilize insurance markets and result in increased health care costs for many Americans.
  • Maintain the current structure of Medicaid and Medicare and protect the programs from funding cuts.

In light of health care once again being in the spotlight, this seems like a good time to revisit two relevant reframing tips we’ve offered in previous newsletters.

Tip 1: Reaffirm the societal benefits of health care policies, such as CHIP, Medicaid, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act, by stating that we all benefit when our neighbors, our colleagues, the employees at the businesses we frequent, etc. have quality health care.

Tip 2: Use the Building Well-Being Narrative to explain specifically how policies either support or undermine collective well-being.

Advocates can use this sample message from FrameWorks Institute, which we first shared in the May 18 newsletter, as a template for developing messages on the current health policy debate:

Our communities are strongest when everyone can participate and contribute fully to our community life, our economy, and our democracy. By weakening the supports for Americans’ wellbeing, the House health care bill threatens the vitality of our communities.

Here’s one example. Since 2010, insurance companies have not been allowed to use people’s health histories to determine the cost of premiums for new accounts. This protection was put into place because companies were setting impossibly high prices for people with pre-existing conditions or refusing outright to insure them. This bill eliminates those rules – so if it becomes law, we are all just a diagnosis away from no longer being able to afford health care. Our risk will only increase as we get older and have longer health histories that can be used against us. As fewer people can access health care, the wellbeing of our communities declines.