Bill Moyers And Wendell Potter Discuss The Frank Luntz Talking Points Memo On Health Care

From Bill Moyers Journal, former CIGNA head of public relations Wendell Potter and Moyers discuss the Republicans mindlessly reading from Frank Luntz'

From Bill Moyers Journal, former CIGNA head of public relations Wendell Potter and Moyers discuss the Republicans mindlessly reading from Frank Luntz's memo, which is based on health insurance industry talking points and fear mongering

BILL MOYERS: I have a memo written by Frank Luntz. He's the Republican strategist who we discovered, in the spring, has written the script for opponents of health care reform. "First," he says, "you have to pretend to support it. Then use phrases like, "government takeover," "delayed care is denied care," "consequences of rationing," "bureaucrats, not doctors prescribing medicine." That was a memo, by Frank Luntz, to the opponents of health care reform in this debate. Now watch this clip.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER: The forthcoming plan from Democratic leaders will make health care more expensive, limit treatments, ration care, and put bureaucrats in charge of medical decisions rather than patients and doctors.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL: Americans need to realize that when someone says "government option," what could really occur is a government takeover that soon could lead to government bureaucrats denying and delaying care, and telling Americans what kind of care they can have.

SEN. JON KYL: Washington run healthcare would diminish access to quality care, leading to denials, shortages and long delays for treatment.

REP. JOE WILSON: How will a government run health plan not lead to the same rationing of care that we have seen in other countries?

REP. TOM PRICE: We don't want to put the government, we don't want to put bureaucrats between a doctor and a patient.

BILL MOYERS: Why do politicians puppet messages like that?

WENDELL POTTER: Well, they are ideologically aligned with the industry. They want to believe that the free market system can and should work in this country, like it does in other industries. So they don't understand from an insider's perspective like I have, what that actually means, and the consequences of that to Americans.

They parrot those comments, without really realizing what the real situation is.

I was watching MSNBC one afternoon. And I saw Congressman Zach Wamp from Tennessee. He's just down the road from where I grew up, in Chattanooga. And he was talking-- he was asked a question about health care reform. I think it was just a day or two after the president's first-- health care reform summit. And he was one of the ones Republicans put on the tube.

And he was saying that, you know, the health care problem is not necessarily as bad as we think. That of the uninsured people, half of them are that way because they want to "go naked."

REP. ZACH WAMP: Half the people that are uninsured today choose to remain uninsured. Half of them don't have any choice but half of them choose to, what's called, go naked, and just take the chance of getting sick. They end up in the emergency room costing you and me a whole lot more money.

WENDELL POTTER: He used the word naked. It's an industry term for those who, presumably, choose not to buy insurance, because they don't want to. They don't want to pay the premiums. So he was saying that half... Well, first of all, it's nothing like that. It was an absolutely ridiculous comment. But it's an example of a member of Congress buying what the insurance industry is peddling.

I highly, highly recommend watching the entire interview for anyone that hasn't already. It would be nice to see someone in the main stream media have Potter on as a guest, but I'm not holding my breath.

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