Is health care being given too much attention?

In the Democratic debates and on several threads here and elsewhere health care is one of, if not the most, talked about issue. Health care is primarily a legislative issue. The best that the president can do is strengthen protections under the ACA. Even if there is a Democratic president, senate, and house, the president will probably sign whatever bill gets sent to them. I would rather see them talk more about issues that they could have more of a direct effect on like the border, immigration, climate change, foreign policy to name a few.

A strong president leads the political agenda.

Look at programs like Social Security and Medicare; they’re credited to Roosevelt and Johnson not to the Congresses which enacted them. And they call the ACA Obamacare not Pelosicare.

I hear candidate taking on issues on all those fronts and the most common fallacy or conservative distraction is that an effective administration should not or cannot do multiple things at once. Healthcare is an issue that can and does have the most direct and immediate impact on people’s lives. That is why it is often on the forefront of the Democratic agenda. A sound immigration policy is not a life and death issue, nor is it a financial threat to someone who is just one emergency room visit from financial disaster. Climate change is very important but even the most immediate and progressive policy is years from having a demonstrably positive impact on climate. Which is not to say time is of the essence.

The Dems focused on healthcare in 2018 and did very well. It is especially a good issue since the Republicans have basically no health care proposals that wouldn’t get the the tar beaten out of them in an election. Plus they can focus on how Trump lied about having a great healthcare proposal.

I would argue health care hasn’t gotten anywhere near enough attention, certainly not that it should get less. It’s a crushing problem for millions of Americans and can affect one’s credit report and even job. There are some citizens that are able to benefit from the Medicaid expansion and citizens in other states that are SOOL because they live under spiteful Republican governorship. How is that right?

Democrats could do A LOT more to explain why the issue is so important. Maybe come up with some easy-to-remember slogans to counter the BS from Republicans who cry out about the socialist boogeyman.

I think the Dems talk alot about healthcare because it’s a strong issue for them. They have an agenda and they have a variety of plans to achieve their goals of universal healthcare coverage.

The Republicans don’t have much of anything on the issue, and either don’t talk about it, or they make up lies about it…such as all the years of their fake “Repeal and Replace”. That was just a slogan, because they had nothing.

Lastly, a President with a strong agenda can move the needle on healthcare or any other issue.

Health care: something really expensive. Many people die or get sick because they have inadequate healthcare. However the Democratic Party has a problem with the popularity of private insurance.

Saying something truthful such as “it really depends on who leads Congress” will just enrage voters.

In any event, the presidential candidate isn’t just supposed to win, they’re supposed to help their party win seats. There’s little point of having a President when Congress is controlled by the other party. The policies are more about getting people to vote for them and Democrats, rather than a law that will actually be passed.

Border: The Republicans haven’t changed any (or many) laws there, they’re just breaking laws. A Democratic President would put a stop to that right away. So many border guards would be fired. There’s not much of a “debate”, beyond pointing out the human rights abuses that seem to draw very little attention and sympathy. A debate can be a little politically dangerous as well, as there’s idiots trying to eliminate the ICE. Get rid of the racists and the abusers, and follow the asylum rules, but no country wants to give up border security.

Immigration: This is a worthy debate. Unfortunately Republicans can simply use the word “amnesty” and the Democrats find themselves on the losing end.

Climate Change: Say “pollution”.

The risk communication formula is as follows:

(Perception of) Risk = Hazard + Outrage

The hazard is the “real” risk. Outrage is the emotional reaction. The hazard is dire. The outrage is … not (except among committed environmentalists). The outrage over pollution is high. The climate change movement won’t follow the formula though because they “know better”.

Outrage over pollution caused tremendous anger over lead in water scandals, mercury in water scandals, and E. coli in water scandals. It led directly to removing lead from gasoline. It resulted in the elimination of DDT, which had dire effects on wildlife but little effect on humans (so I guess we’re not that selfish). Why throw away a successful playbook?

The Democrats want to talk about the environment, but they only talk about climate change, which isn’t a vote-getter. They’ve forgotten how to talk about the environment. The last major environmental “initiative” was pushed by an inexperienced lightning rod and had references to “farting cows” and things that weren’t related to the environment at all such as UBI.

Foreign policy: The Democratic Party isn’t that strong on this. They’re stronger on it than Trump, I think… but Trump has been fairly lucky. He’s “not losing”, despite, rather than because of, his (lack of) policies. Just look at how he lucked out at the most recent summit with Kim Jong-Un. The US has turned inward recently anyway. Getting Americans to care about the war in Yemen, for instance, isn’t going to work. It’s far away, no Americans are fighting, there’s no clear good or bad guys and… Islamophobia.

Do they? Rather, isn’t their “problem” the fact that private insurance will never cover a not-insignificant fraction of the American population, and that Americans spend more per capita on insurance than other modern democracies with overall lesser results?
But yeah, maybe you’re right and they’re just envious of the popular kids.

People with private insurance (or who had it before retirement) vote. People without insurance don’t vote. There’s nothing wrong with my plan, so why should I pay attention to anyone’s healthcare rhetoric? (for example)

They don’t talk about it enough hence why Harris can go on a debate stage and say shes for M4A yet she wants a public option like wtf do you even know what M4A is or are you just using the name of Bernie’s bill out of a desperate attempt to get votes while not pissing off your donors.

Healthcare is not being given too much attention. Polling data indicates that healthcare is a high priority for Americans. I would argue that candidates who de-prioritize healthcare are likely to lose votes.
Some data:
Polling data from Pew shows that healthcare is the second most important issue behind the economy. Further, it’s an issue that has been continuing to climb in importance for Americans. In 2011, 61% of Americans thought it was a “top priority for President and Congress”, and in 2019 the number is 69%.

Gallup’s data shows that 57% of Americans believe that it’s the government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare.

Kaiser Family Foundation data indicates that 65% of Americans would like a public option.

85% of likely voters say that healthcare is important to their vote in 2020 (Rasmussen).

I think part of it is age. I’m sure for people under 30, health care isn’t that important and student loans/college affordability are more important.

Yes the president can’t do much, but they set the tone of the agenda and can tell the leadership to prioritize health care.

Sadly, even if we get a democratic congress I doubt we get much (if any) health reform. At best, we will get additional subsidies to buy crap private insurance. Democrats can’t keep promising the moon and delivering almost nothing.

Even w/o single payer, there are ways to greatly improve the US health care system. All payer rate netogiation for private insurers, eliminate in/out of network divisions, eliminate balance billing, promote international competition, auto-enroll the uninsured in medicaid, open medicare to anyone who wants to buy into it including those who get insurance from work, increase subsidies on the ACA, ban all insurance plans with an actuarial value of less than 70-80%, tax credits when health care costs (including premiums) go above 15% of AGI, etc.

A system like that would bring us closer to UHC (a plan like that is closer to something Biden would recommend), but I doubt we even get that.

Personally, but if they have an ailing parent or grandparent… then not so much. Specially given that even if you look at things from a completely “what’s in it for me” point of view, the medical costs to the (grand)parent will impinge on the child’s ability to pay for college and for anything else the parent or the inheritance might have helped to pay for.

I think part of it is that some massive proportion of people do have insurance and aren’t being crippled by medical bills. Like 90% or so.

So for most of them, healthcare as an issue hasn’t really graduated to the level of being a clear problem. It’s something that you are concerned with- you may lose your job and coverage, or you may end up with some kind of problem that costs more than insurance covers. But for the vast, vast majority of people, it’s at worst a pain in the ass that costs them more in money and time than they like, but not something that they’re out demonstrating in the streets about. And this “satisfaction” rises as socioeconomic status rises as well, so considering the correlation between voting frequency and income, it’s just not an issue for most voters.

That’s not to say that there shouldn’t be reform- there absolutely should, but more of an explanation of why it doesn’t get so much traction

I think the Democrats would do well to tailor their message of universal healthcare at the people with insurance, and explain how/why it would benefit them, not appeal to sympathy or try and guilt the electorate into it.

Americans spend a huge percentage of income on health care — and arguably do not get proportionate results. Many Americans seem to receive minimal care or too much care (unnecessary tests, procedures, medicine). There are many important issues, and this one can be thorny, but I personally think it is important. As a Canadian, there are also many ways our health care could be improved, at a minimum by doing a better job of tracking spending and outcomes over time.


The argument for UHC should be, “It’ll lower **your **bills and the nation’s bills overall.” It shouldn’t be, “Your **neighbor **(and especially, your illegal-immigrant neighbor) needs cheap healthcare.” The latter is not persuasive to voters.

How about “your neighbor might go bankrupt over medical bills and would then need to use the social safety net that our tax dollars fund. Prevent more freeloaders!”

Would that be more persuasive to the voters you are talking about?

There’s a lot of FUD going on about this topic, and for most people, the uncertainty with most universal healthcare implementations is that they’re concerned about whether or not they’re going to retain the same level of autonomy in terms of facilities, providers, drugs, etc… and not pay more overall in the bargain. In other words, the big concern is that while the current insurance scheme isn’t awesome, it’s the devil they know. When they hear universal healthcare (or worse, “socialized medicine”), they start thinking about basically health care on a DMV or jury-duty model. On top of that, they’re also assuming that adding a bunch of underinsured/uninsured, mostly poor people is going to jack up costs significantly, as well as add people to a system that may not have the excess capacity to handle them without impinging on their own ability to receive treatment when, where and from whatever provider they choose.

That’s the FUD that the Democrats have to dispel. They’d do well by first concretely laying out that under whatever UHC proposal they’re coming up with, people’s tax increases absolutely will NOT exceed their premiums. Second, they’ll have to preserve the who, when, where choice options for people. If they can satisfy the vast majority of people about those two things, the other stuff will fall by the wayside I think.

Nah, their response would be to cut the safety net.

So just let the neighbor die then?