Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Thad Williamson


Health care is one of the most contentious issues in United States politics today, and there are a variety of reform plans on the table. In order for these reform plans to be politically feasible, it is fundamental that the rhetorical framing strategies utilized are done so with caution. In this paper, I seek to understand to what extent rhetorical framing plays a role in how Americans perceive progressive health care reform plans. While there are many factors that go into public support of policies, rhetoric is one factor that cannot be ignored, as it has shown to have significant effects on the support that policies receive, such as in terms of the failure of the Clinton Health Reform Initiative, and the success of Obamacare. I set out to explore this question of the impact of rhetoric through comparing these two plans with one another and the differences in the framings used, as well as conducting an experiment to see modern day implications. I compared six different rhetorical labels against one another to see which people viewed the most favorably, and which people perceived with the most negative connotations. Ultimately, it seems as though Americans view “universal health care” as the most positive label that I used as one of the six conditions. Further, while rhetoric certainly does play a small role in how much people support policies, and should not be overlooked, these small significant differences are not enough to ignore the other factors that go into how much Americans support various reform plans.