Before March 2010, health care reform was already a divisive political issue. People chose sides for very personal reasons, which made it a difficult topic to discuss using an indoor voice.
Then Obamacare hit the scene. Promises made were not kept, and Americans are still facing the consequences—including higher premiums, fewer choices of doctors, and waiting periods.
With the first presidential debate and open enrollment season just around the corner, health care is poised to be a hot topic yet again.
Whether you’re talking to a neighbor about your increasing premiums or a co-worker about the latest health care debate on Capitol Hill, here are some tips for talking about Obamacare from a free-market, limited-government perspective that beats back socialism without beating down your opponent.
1. Find Common Ground
The common denominator on both sides of the argument is the desire for access to quality, affordable health care. Regardless of position, class, income, or location, health care should be cost-effective and accessible for everyone.
Furthermore, the part of the health care debate that nearly everyone agrees on is the need to address what happens to those with pre-existing conditions. For too long, those who suffered with a pre-existing condition were up against a nearly impossible task to find affordable, quality health care—those who needed it the most were often denied. A solution to this issue is something we can seek to solve together.
These well-known aspects of the health care debate create a common goal and make room for a discussion to work toward a solution.
2. Use Examples
There are numerous facts and statistics that prove Obamacare is not working as we were promised.
Just this year, average premium costs for an employment-based insurance family plan have skyrocketed to $15,500. In just a few years, those costs are projected to increase another 60 percent.
In March, on the sixth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, The Daily Signal released this video, detailing six broken promises made by President Barack Obama regarding his health care plan.
Use stats and examples that prove Obamacare has achieved the opposite of what we were promised.
Among other promises that were not kept, Americans were assured: you would be able to keep your current plan if you liked it; families making less than $250,000 would see no tax increase; Obamacare would not add to the deficit; premiums would decrease; and federal conscience laws would remain in place.
If you want to cite personal anecdotes, there are plenty. For example, I am a small business owner and therefore purchase my own health care. My premiums have tripled (while my health has remained the same) since the introduction of Obamacare. And I know my story isn’t unique.
Use stats and examples that prove Obamacare has achieved the opposite of what we were promised. Focus on the broken system, higher costs, longer wait times, and less choice.
3. Choose Your Words Carefully
The words and terms you use in this debate have the power to determine how your argument is received.
Even though the president embraced this legislation as his own, use the “president’s health care law” or the “Affordable Care Act” when talking to people who like it. Throwing “Obamacare” around will put liberals on the defensive, and then any chance for a reasonable conversation is harder to achieve.
While we may consider it unconstitutional to mandate that Americans buy a product whether or not they want it or need it, don’t focus on Obamacare being “unconstitutional.” That isn’t a winning argument for someone who is in favor of the health care law. Instead, focus on real-life implications like fewer choices, longer waits, and higher costs—all of which are happening and are the opposite of what we were promised. Proving injustice is easier, and fairness is a term they care a whole lot about.
Obamacare has not turned out to be a good deal for any of us, and this election season is an important time to discuss the law and its long-term implications. Civil discourse may be our best starting point to hold the president accountable and develop a health care system that truly works for all Americans.