Health Care Cacophony
Health Care Ads and Arguments
House Democrats introduced their nearly 2,000-page health-care reform plan today as Sojourners and the Family Research Council (FRC) rolled out two very different ads on health care earlier this week. The Sojourners ad invokes moral language, including phrases like "bear false witness" that allude to scriptural passages as it advocates for health care reform. The video, created in partnership with the American Values Network, features a series of nighttime photographs of people waiting at a free health clinic.
The narrator talks about "the millions of Americans who wait for health care reform," saying, "they are God's children, and they have a face."
"While the politicians bear false witness about reform, they wait," the voice-over continues. "While special interests reap the profits of fear, they wait. While angry protesters silence dialogue, they wait. … The time for health reform is now."
In contrast, the FRC ad could be mistaken as the product of a budget-hawk, anti-deficit action group. Previous FRC Action ads focused on "the moral, ethical and financial dangers of the President's Health Reform Plan."
In FRC's ad, a young boy asks if the grandfather is "still on the list" for his surgery, and whether it is expensive. The grandfather nods and explains that the surgery is free because the government is going to pay for it.
The grandson replies, "Daddy says nothing is for free. Who's going to pay for it?"
The background music changes from a few stark piano chords to a light, playful melody.
"You are," the grandfather scoffs. "You're late for work!"
The grandson then gets ready for his white-collar job as a narrator explains that "government-run health care would leave our children to pay for one trillion dollars of additional debt. They'd better grow up quickly."
This ad, which is being broadcast in Washington, D.C., does not include any discussion of federal funding of abortion, but this does not mean the group is no longer concerned about abortion funding. FRC Action provides a "clear conscience" website with information on abortion funding, a petition, and opportunities to contribute to FRC Action's efforts.
Focus on the Family Action's Ashley Horne said, "Congress needs a wake-up call," as most Americans oppose federal funding of abortions, and Focus has 150,000 signatures on its petition to oppose such funding.
Americans United for Life also continued their call for President Obama to "stop making false claims that abortion funding is somehow already prohibited" and to veto legislation lacking "explicit language prohibiting abortion funding."
Ken Connor of the Center for a Just Society emphasized the "ominous implications" that government-run health care would have for end-of-life care. With government-run health care, the doctor-patient relationship would be replaced by protocols that would emphasize cost cutting over the needs of individual patients, he argued.
Doug Carlson of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Comission (ERLC) argued for the need for more transparency in the legislative process. "Arcane and legalistic or not, the stakes are high," Carlson wrote. "The drivers of health care reform are intent on providing federal coverage for abortion, as well as including a government-run option, which would possibly slash Medicare benefits, raise health care premiums, and crowd out private insurance. A little transparency should not be too much to ask."
Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition was more pointed in her criticism of the lack of transparency. "Obama is acting more like a Soviet bureaucrat than a man who believes in the democratic process," she said.