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Insurers’ Special Holiday Recipe, Just For You

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I was vying for my dream job. This was my writing sample. I didn’t get the job, so figured I’d share this special recipe with you all instead.

Joe Lieberman is dead wrong when he says it’s better not to have health care reform than it would be to include a public option. It’s a message packed with lies and distortions written by the tobacco industry 15 years ago, delivered with the full blessing of insurance lobbyists cooking up Big Tobacco’s 1994 recipe for 2009 reform.

It’s no coincidence that Lieberman represents (and I use the term loosely) a state where many insurance companies have regional or home offices. It’s not a surprise that he would stand in opposition to anything that might force insurers to actually compete in a fair market.

The surprise is the way mainstream media reports his grandstand plays. Is there no one reporting the news with a memory extending beyond what happened last month? The insurance lobby playbook they’re using today was written in 1993. They think they have a recipe for success, and they’re using it with the same ingredients, right down to this week’s statement from the Business Roundtable that health care reform is bad for business.

Here’s their recipe, secret sauce included:

  1. One person to spin lies with just a whiff of faux certitude. Enter Betsy McCaughey, lobbyists’ dream shill, who delivers death panels at a low, low price.
  2. Whip up grass roots resentment with carefully orchestrated PR, including random soda tax commercials, lots of American flags, and a targeted populist message. Enter Americans for Prosperity and Dick Armey, where anyone can get on the bus to ‘get their country’ back. Add a generous dollop of ignorance and hysteria for extra flavor.
  3. Carefully fund key Senators. Encourage them to delay the process while publicly claiming they want health care reform, too.
  4. While Senators stew, drop a generous helping of message control into a separate media bowl. Whip it with many Sunday talk show mixers until it’s carefully blended to an even consistency. Apply across the gamut with a broad brush.
  5. Bake at a high temperature for 90-120 days before turning out of committee and into Congress. Reserve a few representatives before serving.
  6. Be careful not to let hope and momentum rise too high. As a precaution blend William Kristol with a cup of pre-packaged messages about burdensome costs and government takeovers.
  7. Whip all to frenzy, serve to public. VoilĂ ! Another health care reform bill successfully done…in.

It couldn’t hurt to find a recipe to cure mainstream media editors and reporters of their short-sightedness and willingness to repeat the lie without exposing it, too. Every little bit helps.

Photo: MaggieMuddPhotography (Flickr)

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