Universal Health Care

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Throughout the 2008 presidential election and continuing into the current term, the greatest and most controversial debate has been centered around one thing, a universal healthcare system in the United States. It has occupied the minds of politicians and Americans day and night. Debates and speeches on this topic have taken over rallies, city council meetings, and more than one State of the Union Address. These debates are heating with concerns of increase taxes, decrease salaries for doctors, and the ethical question of whether or not healthcare is a basic right for all people or a privilege only to be held by those who can afford it. Understanding the use of rhetoric in this debate is important in forming a well-informed opinion on universal healthcare in America. First off, in order to form any argument effectively, the audience must know the credibility of the rhetor. This is where Aristotle’s concept of ethos takes hold. The audience is much more likely to acknowledge and accept a person’s point of view if they are confident that they know what they are talking about. For example, Ron Paul on the opposing side, comments during the CNN Debate on January 19, 2012 when asked about universal health care saying, “Thank you, I thought maybe you were prejudiced against doctors or doctors who practiced medicine in the military or something” (Sweet). Ron Paul successfully utilized the concept of ethos. At the very beginning he informs every one of his credentials by saying he is a doctor, two different times in the first sentence. After all, healthcare is a doctors business. His status as a doctor automatically opens the audience to listen to him as someone who has worked first hand seeing and working through things other people have not. He further emphasizes his credibility by stating, “I have had the privilege to practice medicine in the early 60’s” (Sweet) toward the middle of the speech to remind us of his authority. There is even more ethos...
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