In addition to the existing site HealthReform.gov, the Obama Administration has set up a new part of WhiteHouse.Gov called "Reality Check" to address some of the myths surrounding the debate on health care reform. It is good use of a site to provide content that can be moved and used, and so that is what we are doing here – replicating all of the videos.
In the first, Kavita Patel, who works with Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and who worked for years before as a physician, debunks the myth that reform will mean a "government takeover" of health care or lead to "rationing." To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.
You get the idea. But in my mind, while a good use of content to move an issue, it is too little and it is too late.
As mentioned last week, the fundamental failure here has been one of timing in communications. In any public affairs campaign, it is important to tee up the problem so that people are anxious to usher in a solution. In the case of health care reform, proponents of reform have taken it for granted that because it is well-known that the system is broken, that everyone would be happy to see it fixed. That was a mistake that may prove fatal for reform. Everyone knows that the "system" is broken, but the fact is, most people are satisfied with the health care that they are getting. The current health care system is a problem, it's just not my problem. Prior to launching any move to reform, there should have been a great deal of effort to make people understand what is at stake in their very own lives in the reform debate to make it personal, and not theoretical. The failure to do that has opened the way for opponents of health care reform to shape the debate on their terms, in these silly, pointless town meetings and by rumor and innuendo. People know what they've got in the health care system, they don't know what their getting and no reform proponent should have taken it for granted that people would intuitively understand how health care reform would affect them as individuals.
In this case, that is the check on reality that got missed.