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Op-Ed ‘Jokes’: Offer Pot For O-Care Enrollment

An op-ed from Bloomberg:

Make Obamacare Cool, or Make It Hurt

By Caroline Baum Dec 16, 2013

Instead of outreach programs and sappy TV ads with parents imploring their kids to sign up for Obamacare, President Barack Obama needs to start thinking creatively if he wants his signature legislative achievement to be a success. What motivates kids? In fact, what motivates any of us?

Incentives. This White House has failed to grasp what makes individuals and businesses tick. Whether it’s taxes or regulations, Obama doesn’t understand the basis of a capitalist economy. Whoever was responsible for setting the Accountable Care Act penalty — a tax, according to the Supreme Court — wasn’t thinking because it’s much too low…

So what can the president do to drum up interest among the young and the healthy before it’s too late? …

First, announce and advertise that everyone between the ages of 18 and 34 who enrolls on the health-care exchanges by the end of the year is automatically entered in a lottery. Winners will receive everything from a free iPhone or iPad to a full-year of health-care underwritten by Uncle Sam. Refer a friend and get a discount. Buy one (year), get one free. In states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use — Colorado and Washington — by all means, throw in a bag of cannabis.

We suspect Ms. Baum is trying to be amusing here. She is a longtime columnist for Bloomberg, who usually opines on economic matters. But her previous columns don’t show too many obvious signs of humor. But who can tell with economists?

But we have to admit we didn’t predict people would start calling for the government to start offering pot for an incentive. But that seems superfluous anyway, since ‘medical marijuana’ is bound to be covered by Obama-Care.

It isn’t fair, you say? Who said life is fair? Obamacare is based on the idea of young, healthy people, who don’t use a lot of health-care services, subsidizing the sick and elderly. Their generation is on the hook for the debt incurred to provide for the baby boomers in retirement. So forget fair.

It sounds like Ms. Baum might not be entirely happy with Obama-Care.

Second, get lenders into the act. Financial institutions could do for health-care what they did for real estate: lure potential borrowers with teaser rates that reset higher over the next few years. (Yes, the terms would be in the small print, but who reads that stuff?) Create collateralized debt obligations from health-care loans, slap a AAA-rating on them and drive the next bubble. Isn’t that what some smart economists are talking about right now: the need for another asset bubble to give the U.S. economy some added oomph?

Huh? A far more accurate analogy would be to have the federal government threaten financial institutions if they don’t drive more minorities into Obama-Care. Which, by the way, is what happened with the so-called ‘bad mortgages’ bubble.

Third, change the psychology so that it’s cool to have health care. Create a rap video with a half-naked heart throb gyrating to music as he sings, "Bye-bye ER, I’m gonna miss you." Or the White House could ask its friends in Hollywood to develop a reality TV show.

Where has Ms. Baum been? Both of these things are already happening. Hollywood producers and writers are already being instructed on how to work Obama-Care into movie plots and TV storylines.

I was out with friends recently and happened to mention something about Medicare. They all flashed their Medicare cards, which they’d had laminated, simultaneously. I would have thought Medicare eligibility would be something to hide, not advertise, as a sign of old age. Yet my friends were quick to share this symbol of the government safety net.

Are these just random thoughts? Is Ms. Baum unaware that people pay into Medicare all of their working lives? It is supposed to be a form of health insurance. Unlike Medicaid.

If Obama and his brain trust spent as much time on creative ideas to boost enrollment as they do on creative ways to spin the truth about it, they might be surprised at the results.

On that we can agree.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, December 17th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Op-Ed ‘Jokes’: Offer Pot For O-Care Enrollment”

  1. captstubby says:

    Cool Goverment from the past.

    in 1916, the food guide was born.
    Over the years, Uncle Sam has made attempts to change the way Americans eat. The reasons for these nutrition campaigns have varied, but it appears that our bad habits have remained constant at least in the last century. W.O. Atwater, the USDA’s pioneering nutrition scientist, concluded in the 1890s that Americans eat too much fat and sweets and do not get enough exercise.

    In his crusade to improve the American diet, Uncle Sam has funded ground-breaking nutrition research, deployed an army of home economists into the kitchens and classrooms of Americans, and printed reams of pie charts, posters, and pyramids . Pitted against cultural traditions, advertising, and socio-economic forces; the quest to change American eating habits was an uphill battle.

    The USDA hired practitioners of the fledgling field of home economics to write these guides and lead nutrition programs through the Cooperative Extension Service. Eschewing the “pinch of this, dab of that” tradition, home economists’ scientific approach to cooking made it easier to quantify the nutritional values of their recipes.

    This Bureau of Fisheries poster seems unlikely to have swayed many people to eat carp. Saying that the “muddy taste” can be cooked away doesn’t exactly whet the appetite. Carp were cultivated in America in 1877 but the hardy fish soon threatened other species.

    National Archives, Publications of the U.S. Government

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