The Corner

Sixteen Weird ‘Sweet’ Reasons to Get Covered, in GIFs

My colleague Robert Graboyes sends me the link to this White House “ACA Bracket,” where people can vote for or against the “sweetest” reasons to get covered under Obamacare. Among the reasons featured: “Accidents happen,” “women can’t be charged more than men,” and “birth control is free.”

Interestingly, the 16 reasons featured there are a good illustration of how the administration thinks about health care, about the role of government, and about the intelligence of young people.  How? The White House confuses the provision of insurance with the provision of better health outcomes and decides to completely ignore the costs imposed on many Americans by the restrictions imposed on the insurance system. Moreover, the administration really thinks that people should never have to be held accountable for any of their behavior. Finally, it ignores that having to pay for something is different from being banned from using it (birth control being a good example).

The administration’s choice of GIF videos to illustrate each of the reasons to get covered is also interesting – and sometime even disturbing. I think the strangest one may be the one about giving your mom peace of mind, featuring a cute cat that also looks kind of dead. The one with the Seventies-looking person dancing on what looks like a bathroom counter before falling off is also odd. (The ducks jumping around about the news of not having to pay anything out-of-pocket for birth control is strange too, to say the least.)

This may be fine if the president’s health-care law had delivered on what was promised. But it won’t: Nothing is free, and that free birth control will likely be paid for in higher premiums, higher deductibles, and more out-of-pocket spending for other things. Insurance companies may not be able to set different prices between men and women, but the chances are that a lot of men and women who will be paying more for that feature than they were paying before the law was implemented. That’s only the beginning. 

For instance, if health care is a right, as the administration claims, meaning everyone in America should get health insurance, why is the law barely making a dent to the number of uninsured? Over at the Washington Times, John Curl reminded us that the president mentioned numerous times that 46 million Americans didn’t have health-insurance coverage, explaining that’s why we needed to overhaul the health-care system. He writes:

President Obama said it in August 2009: “I don’t have to explain to you that nearly 46 million Americans don’t have health insurance coverage today. In the wealthiest nation on Earth, 46 million of our fellow citizens have no coverage.”

He said it dozens more times, including in June 2013: “We are not a nation that accepts nearly 46 million uninsured men, women and children.”

The Obama administration pumped the number with official reports. The White House Council of Economic Advisers said, “Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance.” The Census Bureau got in on the act, too, saying some 48 million Americans lacked health insurance.

It was official: Nearly 15 percent of America’s 313 million citizens had no coverage and were, as Mr. Obama loved to say over and over to hype the fear, “one illness away from financial ruin.”

So, he created Obamacare.

If you believe that having health insurance is the same as improving health outcomes (there is a lot of evidence that this may not be the case, especially for those in the Medicaid program), providing health insurance coverage would seem like an important goal. With only 27 percent of those signing up for the law previously uninsured, according to McKinsey data, the administration is worried to the point that it would do anything to convince people to enroll in the program. The administration should be even more worried if, as Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner noted last week, Obamacare enrollment is lagging in states with the highest uninsured rates.

Unfortunately for the administration, the long run doesn’t look promising either. Even under Obamacaresome 30 million Americans will remain uninsured. 

Come to think of it, the administration should have added one last “sweet” reason to get covered: Save the administration from yet another Obamacare failed promise .

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