“Patient-Centered Health Care”

NEW YORK - MAY 01: Political consultant Frank Luntz attends the premiere and panel discussion of ‘Poliwood’ during the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center on May 1, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival) Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

If you live an exciting life, like me, you spent a lot of time parsing the rote statements of various politicians as they grappled with the SCOTUS decision on health care reform. If you are pedantic, you noticed a phrase that popped up again and again, everywhere, like the neighbor whose lawnmower you borrowed.

Rep. Eric Cantor:

We’re going to continue to look towards the kind of health care that people want and that is patient-centered health care – not health care dictated by Washington.


Rep. Tom Price, unofficial sherpa of Republican doctors:

While disappointed in the Court’s decision, those of us who have always fought for patient-centered health care solutions remain determined to repeal this disastrous law so that we may restore personal control over health care decisions.


Gov. Dave Heinemann of Nebraska:

The focus should be on patient-centered health care that emphasizes prevention, wellness and quality outcomes. There are many ways to achieve affordable patient-centered health care without the unaffordable, unsustainable, regulatory nightmare of Obamacare.

Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon:

Oregonians deserve a patient-centered health care system that allows them to access the care they need from the doctor and hospital they choose at the lowest possible cost.


The Iowa chapter of Americans for Prosperity:

Americans want patient-centered health care reform that expands health care freedom, choice and innovation, not more restrictions, bureaucracy, and reckless spending.

What is PATIENT-CENTERED HEALTH CARE? It’s not new, and it’s not tied to any particular state/federal legislation. It’s a tight phrase coined by Frank Luntz in his May 2009 memo, “The Language of Health Care.” Luntz polled three potential frames for private insurance reform – “patient-centered,” “free market,” and just plain “private.” Patient-centered was the clear winner, with 61.8 percent affinity. So Luntz summed up the best Republican argument in one phrase: “Say no to a Washington takeover of healthcare and say yes to personalized patient-centered care.” In three years, the argument has barely changed.