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Health Care Bill in the Media, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

The health care bill has recently been voted into law.  This bill was a cornerstone of Senator Clinton’s campaign and was eventually supported by Barack Obama.  While the economy cannot afford eliminating the health insurance industry, this bill attempted to address negative issues surrounding poor care for individuals with little or no health care coverage.  The bill provided health care coverage by extending the Medicare and Medicaid plans for millions of uninsured individuals.  Millions of individuals are unable to pay health costs due to having no health insurance coverage, which forced individuals to avoid seeking health care altogether (Silva & Hook, 2010).  While this issue has been thoroughly debated by all sides of the political spectrum, the mass media has played a critical role in utilizing media theories to present information to the public.

The first theory utilized by the media is the cultivation theory.  Cultivation theory states that viewing television is a primary factor in cultivating individuals’ beliefs about the world.  This theory has been utilized positively and negatively regarding this issue.  The media has framed the health care issue to posit that President Obama and the Democrats are dedicated to helping those individuals that are victims of the big, bad health care industry.  This promotes a notion of hope and a more positive attitude is instilled in individuals viewing this type of framed information.  On the other hand, the media has used this theory negatively to argue against the health care issue.  Many Republicans voted against the bill because it essentially increases taxes and the country’s total deficit (Grassley, 2009).  A typical television viewer would view the Democrats as the good guys and the Republicans being bad guys that do not have the common man’s best interests at heart.  Depending how the information is framed, the use of cultivation theory for the health care bill could have been a positive or negative experience in cultivating the American beliefs and views on the issue.

The second theory utilized on this issue has been the social learning theory.  This theory states through viewing programming, the viewer’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviors are shaped and molded over time.  The health care bill initially met much opposition by both parties because there was no clear plan for its implementation and the necessary elements to creating a detailed plan (Big gov’t, 2009).  Many news sources stated that the issue was a lost cause by President Obama and political commentators opined this on media programming.  Therefore, the viewers’ beliefs and behaviors had been shaped to have little hope in the possibility for a health care bill to exist.  Furthermore, the negative belief that the bill would further increase the national deficit also negatively molded viewers’ beliefs.  As the bill became a reality, the media began to change its tone and frame information positively.  The information was meant to give individuals faith and hope.  Millions of individuals would benefit, and the bill’s positive impact became the main focus.  Both of these theories have been used in a positive and negative way to mold public opinion.

References

Silva, M., & Hook, J. (2010, March 21). Historic health care bill passes. Los Angeles Times, Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/sns-dc-house-health21,0,6700494.story

Grassley, C. (2009). Health care reform — a republican view. The New England Journal of Medicine, 361(25), 2397-2399.

Big gov’t forces health care bill despite bi-partisan opposition [Web log message]. (2009, December 24). Retrieved from http://www.prisonplanet.com/big-govt-forces-health-care-bill-despite-bi-partisan-opposition.html

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