Slate's verbose but often very interesting Ron Rosenbaum has a windy piece about Democratic sloganeering that begins by stating that "public option" is the worst framing device ever. Americans would support government-sponsored health insurance, he argues, if we merely called it something like, well, government-sponsored health insurance. As he points out, when the Times pollsters described the public option
as "a government administered health insurance plan--something like the
Medicare coverage that people 65 and older can buy," it got two-thirds support. Time for a name change?
Well look, government administered health insurance plan--something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older can buy is worse than the worst framing device ever, because it's not a framing device, it's a long description. And Rosenbaum's other suggestion -- "a government-sponsored health-insurance safety net" -- would be a clever official frame if the idea were to trick dubious Americans into napping through September. The fact is, it's very very difficult to find a good alternative to public option -- Rosenbaum doesn't -- but let's see if we can do better, sticking to no more than three words.
The world option is a little boring and ungalvanizing, because it describes something peripheral, un-immediate ... you know, optional. I have the option to floss right now. My colleague Chris Good has the option to clean his dirty desk. You readers have the option get started on your taxes, or take out the trash when you get home. But these options are dormant and don't really require action (that's especially true for Chris).