One of the most serious challenges facing the nation is its fundamentally broken health care system. Nearly 47 million Americans do not have health coverage, while four out of five uninsured Americans live in working families. Health premiums have increased more than four times faster than wages. And American businesses are forced to choose between providing health benefits or jobs. These problems can only be addressed through major health reform.
To address this crisis, the Center for American Progress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund have launched a multi-faceted health initiative, with the goal of promoting health advocacy and raising the saliency of health reform in the 2006 and 2008 elections. In 2005, we produced a plan that provides affordable, quality health care for all Americans. In the plan, we identified concrete, immediate steps to set the country on the path toward a seamless, value-oriented health system. We will continue to develop these policies, starting with polices on prevention. Communications is also a critical component of this initiative. In January 2006, CAP and Americans for Health Care released national polling data regarding health reform, a “tool kit,” and set of messages to encourage debate.
Our message on health reform is simple:
- The health care system in our country is broken, and we need to make fundamental changes.
- It’s just wrong for anyone who works hard, pays taxes, and plays by the rules to go without decent health care or to be driven into economic hardship because of health cost.
- In a system where everybody benefits from health coverage, everyone should help pay for it and share responsibility for health care cost.
Four bedrock principles of real reform include:
- Provide affordable coverage for all Americans.
- Control health care costs.
- Guarantee choice of doctors and health plans.
- Make prevention a national priority
This message was used, and health concerns mattered in 2006.