Sick of the Health Care Debate?

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Yesterday The New York Times reporteda poll that citizens are becoming extremely nervous about how healthcare reform will impact their economies. I was invited to take part inthe “Room for Debate” feature on this question: What does President Obama need to do to sell health carereform to the voters? Read here for other commentators (and thecomments from readers too). This is an excerpt from my response:

“Aftertwo years of ignoring monthly letters and fliers from my insurancecompany urging me to enroll in their discount drug plan, it took apersuasive telephone solicitation to force me into accepting the help.No amount of graphic and typographic persuasion had succeeded. But thisguy on the phone, who sounded so genuinely incredulous when I said, ‘Nothanks, I don’t mind paying the extra money,’ had the good sense andconvincing cadence to say ‘but we’re talking about $60 off.’ He was sointent on pursuing me I could no longer say no. So I acquiesced. . .

“Oneday a package came in the mail with four months of fairly expensive eyemedicine 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 italso made me even more aware that these drug companies are making ahuge profit off usurious mark-ups. . .“So here’s the recipe fora viable health care promotion campaign: Whatever the words and image,be sure to make a convincing promise and prove it can be kept. Thenhire really convincing phone solicitors, not jerks reading from aprompter; next, follow-through with the goods. If enough people getwhat they need, they’ll want health care reform — and they won’t mindthe phone calls either.”

How would you sell health care (or not) given your design acumen?

About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →