tv [untitled] CSPAN June 14, 2009 12:30pm-1:00pm EDT
in the right direction. but when changes start occurring in the federal government, it often serves as a catalyst for the private sector to follow. with the signing of the health parity act, a victory owed in large part to your efforts, and a broad coalition of advocacy organizations, the dream of parity is finally within reach. it has been achieved, and now we need to make sure it is implemented. it is a momentous piece of legislation, and of course we know it was championed by first senator paul wellstone and carried through to fruition by senator ted kennedy and pete domenici. it will provide parity for about 130 million people across the country, including 82 million people enrolled in self-funded plans. so it couldn't have come at a better time with our nation poised to enact meaningful health care reform under an -- a
fantastic new administration with one that faces many new issues and challenges. i know we're all aware of that, but they have a commitment to reforming the health care system. so we have tremendous opportunities now that broaden our coalition to help create a guiding light and a changing agenda. there are some within the health care debate that may not want to reform mental health care. because mental health care can last a lifetime, they believe the cost of treating these conditions is one that we as a nation cannot afford, so they are raising the cost issue. you and i know differently. we know the cost is in ignoring these conditions. it is going to be far more expensive to ignore these conditions in the long run. but we need to make that
argument. i know you will be making that argument on the hill effective. and the facts speak for themselves. with the nation's leading cause of disability, it is no wonder that mental health and substance abuse problems are among the most disabling of all substance abuse kigs. driving up health care costs and destroying productivity and achievement. obviously that needs to be addressed. many patients visiting emergency rooms are suffering from depression. a third of our nation's homeless population has severe, treatable mental illness. between 85% and 95% of people with severe treatable mental illnesses are unemployed. people tend to die 20 years
younger than the rest of the population with severe midnightal -- mental illness. so these are all great facts to get out there, further integrating the facts of overall health care. the fact that many of our most chronic health conditions, like heart disease, have co-occurring mental health disorders. we cannot afford not to treat these disorders, especially when treatment is within our grasp and when we know that he work. we cannot ignore that mental health is a crucial part of our health and well being. and as we focus more on integrating mental health into our overall mental health focus, we will find the ability to prevent health disorders before they occur. prevention is always a hard sell. i don't understand that, but it is a hard sell.
the recent study on health in ad lessents is a great example. i can't say more about prevention and mental health care. when clifford biers began his work to reform how people with mental illness were treated, he focused on bringing science to the field of health and psychology. his goal was not only a cure, but treatment of mental illness. so people can lirve full, productive lives, with a supportive network of friends, family, and services. like those you help provide. together we can continue our work with common sense public policies, go to policies combined with compassionate citizen actions, and the willingness of those who can speak out about their experiences can change preveiling attitudes and change ignorance with acceptance and
understanding, and fear with hope and opportunity. it has been said a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. 100 years ago clifford biers took the first step when he wrote, quote, i am not telling this story just to write it. i tell it because it seems my plain duty to do so." so like many breast cancer survivors, i didn't start out wanting to discuss my treatment for depression with anyone other than family members, but i realized if i told my story, it might help those who neeth -- who were suffering to get the help they needed as well. i wanted to get examples of people who looked like they were leading a successful life. no, i am leading a successful life. i wanted to be that example for
people. i know you know what i mean. so that they could see that, they, too, could get treatment and get the help they need. i also wanted to change the stigma associated with mental health. it just has to go. i don't like that. i know you don't either. [applause] so i wanted to >> so i wanted to thank all of you for the commitment. i know if someone has something going on that's a mental health issue, there is nothing more riff eting, nothing more potentially painful, nothing more potentially hopeful. and they need all the help they can get, all the research, r & d, they need a government that
cares, they need a society that cares, they need neighbors that care, and they need the kind of love and support that we give to anyone who has any kind of an illness. that's my great hope, and i know it is yours, too. so please go out and do all the good you can do today and every day. thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you, tipper, that was terrific. health care quality, affordability are key components of the health care discussion now, and are going to be key elements of our health care conference. and the way we come together and
frame issues increasingly involves scientific polling, understanding how people are thinking about what's happening. and we're lucky today that we're real really joined by national leaders that understand, capture, develop messages, move public opinion. bob borstein is going to moderate the panel. bob was in the clinton white house as well. he spoke about his mental health problems. he has more than 25 years of political communication, public opinion, research, journalism, and is now working for a small internet start-up company with an odd name -- google. his clients include elected
officials across the country, fortune 500 companies, and the lagse nation's leading -- and the nation's leading interest groups. they have a relationship of helping democrats take back republican seats even in so-called red states. lisa davis serves on aarp's united we stand, whose ads you probably have seen a lot, and whose focus is to demand help from political leaders on health care and lifetime security for all. and rounding out our panel, the co-founder of national, political, and public affairs survey research firm that has completed more than four million interviews. i don't think bill has done that himself. the firm has done that.
with voters and consumers in all 50 states and over a dozen foreign countries. called by "the new york times" the leading republican poll center, polling company. represents 19 u.s. senators and over 50 members of congress. so would you all join us up here and bob will organize this group and do the session. thank you. [applause] >> good morning. can you hear this mic. is it working back there?
good morning. many the one thing i process you is that i will not be abe to arrange this unruley group. i think they will have their own debate, and i will sit quietly by. on behalf of all of us, thank you to m.h.a. for having us here and inviting us here. i wanted to begin by thanking the people who put together last night's dinner, which was truly tremendous. [applause] >> and i also wanted to say having listened to tipper speak this morning, and having worked with her extensively during the clinton administration, that i, for one, never get tired of applauding her for her work, and i am consistently amazed at her commitment to this cause, and i thank you personally for what you've done. [applause]
>> so this is the opening session. we hope to be co-harnte and brief. if we're not doing that, stand up and tell us. nonetheless, i hope you are all properly caffeinated out there. i see plenty of coffee on the tables. the point of our session is to, one, explore what americans think of health care, especially in the wake of the 2008 election. our second will be how those views may be shaping the health care reform debate today. finally, i hope to get free advice out of all these people for you. normally they charge a great deal of money. about what a message should be on mental health as you are approaching the health care debate. so i'm going to start with bill. the reason i'm going to start with bill is that once upon a time we used to be partners in bipartisan surveys when i was at
a firm that did research. second, because he's been up the longest. bill took a 6:00 flight from boston to be here, so we can blame his staff for poor scheduling. >> i'm feeling good. >> ok. bill, we know health care was a critical issue in this campaign, as it has been in the last several political campaigns, but let's try to, up front, get some spess -- specificity in this. what did they want candidates to talk about? what did your polling show and what did you discover? >> i think in 2008 and today, if you give people a range of how do they describe their own health care, the number one is out-of-pocket costs. when people talk about health care, the one thing they describe is out of pocket.
hopefully once every generation, two generations, a terrible economy. it is making health care costs really powerful. so when we kk asked people, what's the one or two concerns with your financial swagse situation, they talked about their health care costs. and i think president obama is doing the right thing. we also give people this list, this long battery, and we say that the president and congress could do that would do the most to help fix the economy, and what they say is to drive health care costs down. having said all that, in terms of the issue of the uninsured, i think that's where we've seen a difference between 2008 where the president and the democrat's commitment to increase coverage. there are more people talking about coverage than concern. but i think the president, and you can see his remarks in green bay. the president's remarks clearly
linked the economic recovery to the need for health care change. i think those are things we're doing relatively jointly. his campaign, he spent $18 million with no public financing. they spent $250 million on tv. $150 million was devoted to attacking john mccain for saying -- including health benefits as a tax care exchange. they spent $100 million attacking the idea that this would be the first time we've taxed health benefits. like everyone else, you have a trillion dollar plan k discussed, you have huge chunks of money, so there is a movement in the senate in considering taxing people at some level.
you find ways in which campaigns can strain policy. i think it would -- be awkward for the administration after making that marker not to tax health care benefits. i think in that way the campaign becomes now an issue when you think about where we are in policy. i think that's another confidence in the 2008 campaign as we look to the health care policy. >> do i detect a note of jealousy when you were talking about $800 million? >> it was clearly envy. i tell people i joined the republican party in the late 1970's. it was like the 10 commadment, one that said, you'll have more money, so running a camp -- campaign wu where you are getting your head beat in, yeah,
i was jealous. envy. >> normally we have less money. >> i thought it was set in stone. i thought it was carved, you know. so, yeah, i was very bitter. >> why don't you give us a perspective from the other side of the aisle. give us an example of a health care message during the campaign that worked or that didn't work and why. >> health care message. $100 million out of a billion on health care. and if you look at those adds, and everyone says obama put down a marker not just on taxes but on health care, saying this was the focus. there wasn't a lot in the ads. long position papers, which i'm guessing people in this room
have read but i'm not sure the american public was focused on every little dot in those position papers. they were all on the web site, all public. but if you look at the ads, they were using health care to advance general themes. i was just reviewing them. just looking back at the scripts, one, two extremes. there was one extreme that wanted to set up government-run health care plan and another that wanted a tax benefit. so it was liberal or conservative, obama is going to reform health care by going down the middle. a general theme. saying he's not going to do something on this important issue you don't like, and putting it in as a moderate. another one was on deregulation. mccain was going to be with the insurers, and big izz business, and started -- big business, and started talking about deregulation. it's not part of the parlance, but it tacked right into wall street. this is a guy, if you remember
back in the fall, that debate about how many houses he had, remember that number as well, but he was going on to that. lastly there was the specific about taxes. and almost health care proposal you can test. whether it is in focus, getting a group of eight or 10 people together, or doing a statisticcally valid way or doing these quick polls on the internet, but the one proposal people don't like is the idea of taxing benefits. i'm not speaking to the policy of it, it's the idea of what looms largest for them. the potential gains, the potential loss yesms you say we're going to cut costs, they say that's something i like. they say they are going to tax benefits, and they say, i understand you are taxing something on bifts and it is going to help overall on the deficit, or help with new
government plans. awe they know is the losses appear very immediate, the gains harder to understand. so health care was used as a big issue with the obama campaign, and every den democrat used to call it the holy trinity. education and state races, but jobs, the economy and lastly health care. those three things was the entire campaign for every democrat last cycle, and dullly in state race, -- actually in state races, probably the same thing emerges. >> i was going to say in the war room in little rock it says, it's the compli, stupid. and don't forget health care. -- it's the economy, stupid. and don't forget health care. >> lisa, you work for one of the most powerful lobbies in the country, a group, i might add, that saved me $80 on a rental
car two weeks ago. >> so you have already made up your membership fees. >> yes. in raising this issue of health care from a third party perspective, why don't you tell us a bit about that. i know you brought a bit of the ads you ran, so we can take a look at those as well. >> in the fall of 2006 we started talking, and we knew our nation needed to deal with health care, and that health care is linked to financial security, so we decided to devise a campaign that would engage the public not just of our members but of the nation in ways that aarp hadn't before, working with what we called our strange bell bed fellows, business and labor. and the goal was to use the historic 2008 elections as a frame for driving health care and financial security to the
top of the agenda no matter who the nominees were and no matter who the eventual president was. so we put together a campaign. we did a great deal of message testing, but how to talk about the issues. and everything you heard so far is exactly what we learned. one thing that was incredibly hard for those of us that come from a policy background and aarp, is that members of the public didn't want to become policy experts, and that facts and figures weren't compelling. they looked at health care through a personal lens, and they were worried about health care. back in the fall of 2006, 8-10 americans saw health care as a right. but the lens that they used, was not worrying about the 47 million folks without insurance. it was a very visceral fear that even those with insurance had that their health care costs would soon become so great that it would lead to financial ruin, or that they could lose their
jobs or insurance. so we kind of did a change in how we thought about things and went out talking to people in terms that really resonated. one of the fundamental principles of our campaign was to not go forward with aarp's preferred politics but to prest the candidates for a commitment to action as well as their specifics on how they would fix things. we wanted to be even-handed and balanced, about a strong message to put aside partisanship and gridlock and a message that could be supported by the american public. part of this campaign was to take this message, research, and the 1.6 million petitions that we had, the hundreds of thousands of other people we engaged and get inside that campaign bubble and show the candidates that these issues were top of mind, that the public expected them to be top of mind issues, and then also to tap into the public's concern about these issues and direct
that back to washington. so two ads i'm going to show. these are personal stories, all of which are true as individuals, most of whom had insurance, who were forced into bankruptcy due to their high out pocket costs. so if you want to play "david. " >> i was having severe pain. i was rushed to the hospital. i had no idea how expensive it was going to be. i had health insurance. it barely covered anything. i was getting 5% off my medical bills. i had to declare bankruptcy. it could happen to anyone. i guess that's the story everyone should know, and i think something needs to be done about it. >> so using the power of a
personal story, which is still a theme for divided we fail in a way we can communicate, helps explane these issues more than the compelling issues out there. another focus of our advertising was demonstrating to the candidates the public demand for action, and signaling to them that aarp is nonpartisan, we would hold them accountable at the end of the day for their commitment to taking action. and this ad, which we call candidates took a long time to make. because we are strictly nonpartisan, we made sure we had photos and clips of senator obama and senator mccain that they were both showed very positively, that they were both on the air the same amount of time. and you have no idea how difficult that was to put
together. >> we want a system of health care that everyone can be happy with. >> support economic growth. >> keep families and businesses in their homes. >> we are -- >> we have a chance to solve the problems we have been talking about year after year after year after year. >> call and make sure their talk turns into real solutions. aarp is responsible for the content of this advertising. >> ok. i think one of the interesting things here, and i would like to get bill and michael's reaction to that, is the idea of using personal stories, because the folks in this room, or these kind of two rooms, whatever they are, know very well that those personal stories are generally what drives people into the mental health advocacy field. what is your reaction to that ad? >> i thought they were fabulous,
powerful, and the people they had on camera were really powerful. again, i'm not -- i don't want to be glib, but what i tell people in terms of communicating, i tell people there's a reason jesus told stories. the human brain has been hardwired to remember people and stories, ask there's a reason those pairables are powerful and we talk about them 2,000 years later. it is because we connect with people. and what i beg elected officials to do is to stop talking about hundreds of billions of this and trillions trillions of that, and tell powerful stories that make a point. frequently when i speak, i tell stories and jokes, and you see people a couple years later, they don't remember my slide deck, they remember my stories and jokes. and clearly, in health care, health care is -- and that's, by the way, the policy area. it's one of the things and one of the reasons we've had two and
three generations of failure. it is because it is not something that affects someone else. everyone in this room is intimately connected to our health care system and they have stories about what happens. it becomes incredibly difficult to negotiate. by the way, the people who on the far different side of the president, what do they have on the air right now? what they have on the air is patients from candidates from england and canada and how they would have been killed if they did not come to america for health care. so they are taking the same approach and telling a very different story. but in terms of communicating, there is a successful -- we have one of the most successful models, and that is the power of a pairable and story to -- parable and story to capture people. >> definitely stories work best. i won't repeat everything bill said. i agree with that. but when you show those ads it
shows how far we've come and how far we have to go. what lisa is doing is an example of what i said. health care, everyone is talking about needing reform. and one reason it wasn't used by president obama, or most of the candidates i was working for running for office, you have to get something where you're going to campaign. people say there is too much negative advertising, but you have to say there is a contract. so you are saying divided we fail message, we want to reform health care, and your ponet is saying we have to make changes in health care, you not getting traction on a difference. so to some extent united we fail took some of the oxygen out of the room. we wanted to put it in that litany of here are what our most important priorities are. it wasn't on an issue of a tax issue, but you took it from a different perspective here, the republican is