Examining the role of political language in Rhode Island's health care debate
David A. Rochefort
Michael S. (Michael Stanley) Dukakis (1933-), John Portz (1953-)
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Department or Academic Unit
College of Arts and Sciences. Department of Political Science.
health care, Rhode Island politics
Language and languages--Political aspects--Case studies, Health care reform--Political aspects--Rhode Island, Political oratory--Rhode Island--Case studies
Political language refers to the way in which public policy issues are portrayed, discussed, and ultimately perceived by the community at large. Focusing specifically on two case studies in Rhode Island--the efforts of two policy entrepreneurs to enact comprehensive health care reform, and Governor Donald Carcieri's successful pursuit of a Medicaid "Global Waiver"--this thesis begins with a description of the social, political, and economic contexts in which these debates took root. Using a "framework of analysis" developed for this thesis, attention then centers on the language employed by the political actors involved in advancing health care reform, along with the response of lawmakers, organized interests, and the public. A major finding is that the use of rhetoric has been crucial to the framing of policy alternatives, constituency building, and political strategy within Rhode Island's consideration of health care reform. In addition, statistical analysis of original survey data shows that political language orientations are related to the public's policy preferences, a fact that has long been assumed but seldom investigated empirically.
Kevin P. Donnelly
Donnelly, Kevin P., "The rhetoric of reform : examining the role of political language in Rhode Island's health care debate" (2009). Public and International Affairs Dissertations. Paper 6. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d20000144
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