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Spin on “junk health insurance”

December 3, 2010

My writing this week illustrated the power of language in the most simple and classic form.

I know when I’ve hit a nerve because of the number of complaints generated; it is an unfortunate fact in the political world that those who cannot directly combat free speech will attack through another means. By that measure, a sudden wave of complaints to government regulators means that, a) my posts are being read, and b) someone feels threatened by the potential effect of the material. I’ve had my fill of these negative responses and just try to accept it as part of the game. There is no way to know for sure who initiated these complaints, but IP addresses on my Web traffic log indicates attention from high levels of government and corporate insurance offices.

The current nasty reaction stem from my simple substitution of the phrase “junk health insurance” for the more traditional phrases of “mini-med insurance”, “limited benefit insurance” and “supplemental insurance”. One primary piece is posted on the Universal Health Insurance Blog and other minor comments appear in WSJ and other social media spaces. The phrase is being used in mainstream media in response to Senator Jay Rockefeller’s attempt to reduce the range of health insurance plans available to the public. I used the same terminology to promote the benefits of open market competition and freedom of choice – allowing the consumer to determine relative value among the widest possible range of options.

Of course, my writing tactic is neither unique nor witty. It has been used many times by many spin artists. In fact, it may actually be a favorite strategy of those who lobby on complex issues. Yet this week’s experience reminds me of how the use of a few simple words can make a big difference in the results of our public communication.

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