Yesterday The New York Times reported
a poll that citizens are becoming extremely nervous about how health
care reform will impact their economies. I was invited to take part in
the “Room for Debate” feature on this question: What does President Obama need to do to sell health care
reform to the voters? Read here for other commentators (and the
comments from readers too). This is an excerpt from my response:
two years of ignoring monthly letters and fliers from my insurance
company urging me to enroll in their discount drug plan, it took a
persuasive telephone solicitation to force me into accepting the help.
No amount of graphic and typographic persuasion had succeeded. But this
guy on the phone, who sounded so genuinely incredulous when I said, ‘No
thanks, I don’t mind paying the extra money,’ had the good sense and
convincing cadence to say ‘but we’re talking about $60 off.’ He was so
intent on pursuing me I could no longer say no. So I acquiesced. . .
day a package came in the mail with four months of fairly expensive eye
medicine and an invoice, as promised, showing a substantial discount.
Since I am as susceptible to Pavlovian stimulation as the next guy,
such a positive experience was enough to sign me up for life. But it
also made me even more aware that these drug companies are making a
huge profit off usurious mark-ups. . .
“So here’s the recipe for
a viable health care promotion campaign: Whatever the words and image,
be sure to make a convincing promise and prove it can be kept. Then
hire really convincing phone solicitors, not jerks reading from a
prompter; next, follow-through with the goods. If enough people get
what they need, they’ll want health care reform — and they won’t mind
the phone calls either.”