Protection, freedom and choice : a rhetorical analysis of current health care reform and its resistance
Kelly, Mary Helen
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The following thesis investigates the most dominant rhetorical strategies used by President Obama in his health care reform proposals, and the resistance which has manifested in their wake by three public non-profit organizations. Due to the complexity and divisiveness of such efforts, this project strives to understand the rhetorical nature of health care reform policy and its resistance by answering the following questions: What kinds of rhetorical strategies are President Obama and these organizations using to establish a position in the current debate surrounding U.S. health care reform and policy? More specifically, how are people within organizations, such as Conservatives for Patients’ Rights and Patients United Now, using language to formulate resistance to current health care reform as proposed under the Obama administration in the U.S.? What can be understood by examining the use of these rhetorical strategies through specific theoretical lenses such as affective theories of politics and emotions and cognition and metaphor? Based on my analyses of three speeches and three websites, I conclude that both President Obama and the three public groups are using a rhetoric of crisis to establish and frame their rhetorical positions on health care. Further, I argue that this tool of crisis works to increasingly destabilize the possibility of a larger public debate or conversation on this issue which impacts the lives of everyone.