If you have "no place to go," come here!

We can do better than Obamacare, so let's give it a shot

I'm working on some Medicare for All graphics that with your indulgence I would like to post here to solicit critiques. None of them have specific calls to action for now because I don't know where to direct people that they won't get bogged down, so I'll add those later as they become appropriate. (And I welcome any suggestions about whom to hook up with.) For now, I just want to get a sense of what works visually and textually for people who aren't me.

I'm doing this now because I think the ongoing Obamacare drama presents an opportunity to raise the visibility of single-payer and to draw new adherents to it from a variety of positions. Everybody everywhere likes them some Medicare, except the people whose profits are diminished by it. Nobody likes insurance companies, except the people whose profits depend on them. This is one of those rare moments when just about everybody is talking about health care and 90% of the people who are talking about it are saying "lord god this is fucked up."

Probably everybody who hangs out at Lambert's joint is of the opinion that we were robbed of a splendid opportunity to push for single-payer in 2009-2010. Now there's another opportunity and we'll be robbing ourselves if we don't take advantage of it.

The background photo in this flyer is off Flickr using a creative commons license. For font aficionados, the font all the way through is ITC New Baskerville Standard. I want to make graphics that are suitable both for posting online and printing as handouts/pinups. Let me know what you think.

Average: 5 (4 votes)


Submitted by weldon on

Thank you, Lambert.

I see that the max file size for uploads is 50 mb. For some reason I thought it was much lower than that. Is it okay if I upload the full-size jpg file? It's about 3.5 mb.

Submitted by lambert on

I think I needed to get a large PDF file up or something. Of course, if this is abused... But we are far from that.

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

Good idea! And I like the poster. I'm looking forward to seeing them everywhere! :D

A couple of suggestions: I know you're trying to lend emphasis with the slightly larger font, but to me it looks messy visually. Just stick with the larger size.

Also, all the points you raise are excellent, but visually I think it would be better to pare down. Think in terms of ads: would you see an ad with so much type? For instance, keep the #1 in spending, #27 in results, and drop the other two. Then drop "Obamacare can't fix this" (by now everybody knows it can't fix anything) and just have two closing lines:

Demand Better
Demand Medicare for All

Or something like that. ?? Anyway, just a thought.

Submitted by lambert on

Maybe people can help with shorter messages, too.

Those LOLcat-style images seem to propagate all over FaceBook like kudzu.

Submitted by weldon on

I did think about this, and on "better" from fear of provoking one of those internecine arguments about the relative merits of Medicare for all versus a NHS-style or a VA-style system, but I'm persuadable.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

I'd probably leave off the blurb about "ObamaCare can't . . . " because it probably isn't necessary to say, at this point.

But I like the "facts" that you list, the photo, and all the rest of it!

Thanks--it's a great idea!

Submitted by weldon on

I don't know about the Obamacare reference. It has offended some people who support the program, but some others who have been pretty vocal supporters shared it on Facebook. In any event, I'll have some others that don't invoke the comparison.

Submitted by Hugh on

My suggestions are to regularize the font size in line and remove some of the qualifiers and redundacies:

The United States
is the only developed country
universal health care

We’re #1 in health care spending
#1 in health care profits
And #27 in health care results

Obamacare can’t fix this

Demand Better

Demand Medicare for All

Submitted by weldon on

I'll be posting a modified version of this along with some new stuff soon.

zot23's picture
Submitted by zot23 on

My only suggestion is much shorter message, think e-card type so it is easy to digest on facebook or an IM format. People aren't swayed by the facts, they can be goaded by their emotional response.

Maybe over a background of a missing (404) website:

"Stay Calm
Pass Single Payer!"

is a possibility?

Submitted by lambert on

I don't think it contradicts this; we need an arsenal, not the one perfect image, because there is no such thing.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I like it just the way it is. It is necessary to remind people that we spend the most and get the least. This has the possibility to go viral on Facebook and Google +

Submitted by weldon on

I posted it as my cover photo and it got about a dozen shares so far I have a very limited friends list so that's not bad for me. To this point the people who like it as is are mostly older folk, including a couple of print ad veterans. Please feel free to grab it if you want to use it, or email me ( if you want the original 3.5 mb jpeg.

Submitted by weldon on

I'll be working on modifications to this one as well as developing some new ones during the next few days. If anybody wants this version to distribute online or to print, drop me an email and I'll send you the jpeg file (about 3.5 mb) or you can download the photoshop file from my site if you prefer, although the latter is very large (85 mb) and the site is pretty slow. The print size is 8x10 so it'll fit on standard paper.

I'll be working on some smaller stuff with more condensed messaging, per the very good suggestions here. This version has been shared about a dozen times on facebook so far, which is a lot for me.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

it is NOT AT ALL OFFENSIVE to me to ridicule the President, his Administration, the entire Democratic Party Leadership, and rank-and-file Democratic politicians for the travesty (the PPACA) which they have foisted upon an unsuspecting and undeserving American populace.

IMHO, it is well-deserved--and we can't do enough of it, LOL!

My only point was (intended to be) that IF brevity becomes a concern, that would be the portion that I would probably nix.

And I say that because it could be done, and still convey the many very important "factoids" which you include on your flyer. But it's cool to leave it in.

I'm going to try to "screenshot it" and see if I can "Tweet" it. I'm not that knowledgeable about "Twitter," so I'm not sure if that can be done.


Looks likes my screenshot program "cannot capture the entire screenshot." Does anyone know "how" to get around this?

Submitted by hipparchia on

i've stopped using twitter, so maybe things have changed i was there last - can you tweet a link to this post, or a link to the image itself?

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

You're right about "Tweeting" the post, which I will probably also do. (But it would be nice to have a jpg file of the flyer, as well.)

Here's another "5 Stars" for you, weldon!

Submitted by Dromaius on

Right click the photo and choose "Save Picture as" (assuming you're using Windows. It would be a different command on the Mac). This allows you to download it to your local directory. From there, upload and tweet.

Submitted by hipparchia on

if you're making more than one version, make some with and some without reference to obamacare.

back in the day, when i took classes in this kind of thing, we were told never to use more than two fonts, and that for best practices, especially in a small space like a poster, the definition of "two fonts" would include the same font in two different sizes, or the same font in two different colors, or the same font in bold/not-bold or italic/not-italic. by that definition, with 2 colors and 3? 4? sizes, you've got a ton of fonts.

i really like the black font and the white font, and i also like the idea of medicare for all being in BIG letters, so i give you dispensation to have 3 fonts in your poster! :)

not sure what you're looking for in the way of places to direct people to where they won't get bogged down, but i've found several of the links here useful irl -

i also found their faq to be helpful when i was first learning about single payer -

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

So, I like it just the way it is. But if you wanted to have less text, then I'd cut out the text at the very top and launch right in with the staccato points making the case.

Btw, where does the #27 come from. I've had the impression that we're somewhere around 34th or 35th.

NWLuna's picture
Submitted by NWLuna on

First, great concept, nice rendition. Baskerville -- classy, readable, legible (as font fanatics know, those last two adjectives are not redundant).

Fine-tuning suggestions:

* Won't read very well when photocopied. Not that too many people do that these days, but if they do, or if they print it out on b/w printer to post up on their bulletin board with the cartoons, it needs more contrast. Right now there are a lot of mid-range grays.

* Stylistically I don't like the switch back and forth from white-on-dark and black-on-light type. Practically speaking, it's harder to read.

* "We're #1 in healthcare profits" -- some would think this a good thing.

* XX% in "health-care results" -- would pack more personal impact if it said "life expectancy" or something similar which was more concrete than "results."

* "We pay too much and get too little" or something like that.
Or -- to hint that the rest of the world has something more desirable:
"X other countries in the world pay less and get more than we do." (nah, too long...)

Medicare For All.
Ask for It. Vote for It.
Demand Congress: Get It Done.

I once had an instructor who had on his desk a sign "The strongest force in the world is the desire to edit another's work." It was, of course, liberally marked up with corrections/improvements. (Yeah, sorry, bad humor but it's late here and I had a bad day dealing with the usual demands to turn my clinic practice into a production line.)

Keep up the good work!

Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

Hi, Weldon: I love the idea and the concept. My one issue is with the “#1 in profits.”

That’s probably true but as TR Reid points out “The United States is the only developed country that lets insurance companies profit from basic health coverage.”

Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

I agree—the content is good but to be consistent with what weldon is doing, I’d reduce the PNHP content to a few main points that key in on what the ACA doesn’t do and what people are concerned about:

  • Everyone’s covered automatically for all medically necessary services
  • Keep your health care provider
  • No premiums or co-pays and far lower overall cost than now

“The rest of the developed world provides universal health care at about half the cost. Why can't we?

Something like that.

NWLuna's picture
Submitted by NWLuna on

“The rest of the developed world provides universal health care at about half the cost. Why can't we?”

Succinct and direct. I like it.