The XX Factor

O Health Care Bill, Where is Thy Spin?

Here’s what I heard about one proposed health care bill last week: It’s “sausage”. It’s Soylent Green. “Page 16” outlaws my current health plan. Here’s what I didn’t hear: How it helps anybody who doesn’t have health insurance get some. What health care reform needs is a poster child.

Of course, the way of the real poster child is fraught with peril-Hillary Clinton was tripped up by it last time around, and Joe the Plumber didn’t do anyone any favors. But health care reform without the faces of our friends and neighbors attached is just so much policy babble. When I hear health care plan, I should think of the friend of a friend working a job that doesn’t cover her childcare just to get the insurance while her husband fights cancer, or my talented artist buddy whose freelance work pays her rent and grocery bills, but still works a barista job for the health coverage. This month’s PR blitz should bring our focus back to the people we know (like Sarah Wildman), who we know need help.

Photograph of a barista by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images.