Communication Matters - our blog on trends and events


Watch the media to see the change in the health care debate

If you watch the headlines, you can detect the shift. It began with subtle statements, but now it is quite clear. The health-care reform debate is changing.

Last week, Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove lamented the screaming that appeared to go hand-in-hand with the public debate over reform. During an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cosgrove, who enjoys a prominent platform in the public discussion, “expressed frustration that policy-makers are now focusing reform efforts on access to insurance, instead of reducing costs and making Americans healthier.”

“If we don’t keep efficiency and healthy living in mind, the rest of it is just all cost shifting,” he told reporter Sarah Jane Tribble.

Then on Sunday, Cosgrove surfaced in the media again. This time, his microphone was the New York Times. In a controversial article titled Fat Tax, he told reporter David Leonhardt that the country would be far better off attacking obesity than it is undergoing the current debate.

The same day this article appeared, the Obama administration started to change its messaging to the media, and the country.

“Racing to regain control of the health-care debate, two top administration officials signaled Sunday that the White House may be willing to jettison a controversial government-run insurance plan favored by liberals,” the Washington Post reported.

Yes, the media are struggling to make ends meet. Their ranks are dwindling. Major metropolitan daily newspapers are in bankrputcy. And yet, if you want to gauge the direction of this all important debate, just watch the headlines.

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