Politico’s Mike Allen has this fascinating look at the talking points that pollster/wordsmith Frank Luntz has crafted for the House Republicans, as they consider how to approach health care reform. Luntz warns them that public sentiment in favor of fixing the broken system is too strong for them to oppose it directly:
“The status quo is no longer acceptable. If the dynamic becomes ‘President Obama is on the side of reform and Republicans are against it,’ then the battle is lost and every word in this document is useless.
“Republicans must be for the right kind of reform that protects the quality of healthcare for all Americans. And you must establish your support of reform early in your presentation.”
He says there are some arguments Republicans can make that would be “clear winners”:
—“It could lead to the government setting standards of care, instead of doctors who really know what’s best.”
—“It could lead to the government rationing care, making people stand in line and denying treatment like they do in other countries with national healthcare.”
-“President Obama wants to put the Washington bureaucrats in charge of healthcare. I want to put the medical professionals in charge, and I want patients as an equal partner.”
These could indeed be powerful arguments, as anyone who has watched previous battles over health care reform can tell you. That’s why I think you will see even more anxiety on the part of Democrats about the prospects for passing health reform this year. And there will be more pressure on President Obama to take a more visible and vocal role in making the case for their vision of health care reform, including being more specific about what is and isn’t acceptable in a final package.