When we discussed framing in class I was forcibly reminded of some truly damning framing that happens in the health care industry. Specifically this is in the political arena where people find ways to frame arguments against health care in such a way that it actually encourages people to work against their own best interests. The following is a video from late night television of people on the street being asked whether they prefer the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare. What they weren’t told was that ObamaCare is just a nickname for the Affordable Care Act.
As you can see, the attaching of one politician’s name to the idea of a health care package suddenly divided people on which they preferred, people who supported Barack Obama were for ObamaCare and thought the Affordable Care Act was a mistake, people who didn’t like Barack Obama were gung-ho for the affordable care act and were willing to talk about how much better it was than ObamaCare without ever realizing that they were comparing something to itself.
This is not just an issue with the Affordable Care Act. There is currently one politician who is running with a policy of truly universal health care. He is arguing to give every American access to health care regardless of whether they can afford it. How is this being framed by his opponents? People talk about how it will raise taxes. Obviously nobody wants their taxes raised, who wants to pay more money? What they aren’t told as the other side of the argument is whose taxes would go up and what the actual cost for those people would be. Now, if you’re like me, even a hundred dollars a year more in costs would be too much to want to pay it. Plot Twist: Even with taxes going up it would actually save most people money.
The savings comes from them no long having to pay health insurance premiums for themselves or their family. This would be bad for Health Insurance companies but good for the average person, so naturally politicians are standing against it, as the health insurance companies are the ones who donate massive amounts to their campaign rather than the regular people. The way that they frame the issue makes it look like something that nobody would want, despite the fact that in actuality it would be to their benefit. That is the risk of taking information you receive at face value. Sometimes it serves to move away from the framing and consider the actual numbers.