The past month hasn’t been good for supporters of the Obamacare health law. One leading advocate, Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana), admitted that the implementation would be a “train wreck.” A recent study of Oregon health outcomes cast doubt on the benefits of expanding government health care, such that even the left-leaning Slate called it “bad news for ObamaCare.” The American public remains deeply skeptical of the law. In response, the federal government has been mounting a big public relations campaign to sell Americans on the alleged benefits of Obamacare.
Some recent examples:
– The Washington Times reported that Secretary of Health Sebelius urged the country’s pediatricians to help promote the law to their patients.
– NPR reported that President Obama has asked the nation’s mothers to promote ObamaCare to their kids. Specifically, “The White House is counting on mothers to nudge their young adult children to sign up for health insurance.”
– Forbes reported that PR firms and ad agencies are anticipating a windfall of “hundreds of millions” (if not billions) of government dollars to promote ObamaCare to the public in the next few months.
– The Washington Post reported that Secretary Sebelius has been soliciting donations from health industry executives to help finance Obamacare implementation, because she doesn’t have enough money in her own budget to do so.
Meredith McGehee, government ethics expert and policy director for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, noted that this last move was deeply troubling because Secretary Sebelius appeared to be “using the power of government to compel giving or insinuate that giving is going to be looked at favorably by the government.” Given her regulatory authority over the industries being asked to donate, health executives could easily interpret her solicitations for money as a thinly veiled shakedown threat: “Nice little health company you have here; it’d be a shame if something happened to it.”
So why the big push to get patients signed up for Obamacare?
One clue comes from this recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (former White House health policy advisor and brother to former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel). He stated that Obamacare wouldn’t work unless enough young healthy people signed up. In effect, the young people who incur relatively fewer medical expenses must pay enough in premiums into the system to subsidize the expenses of older, sicker patients.
In effect, the Obama administration is openly admitting that their health law won’t work without the willing cooperation of people who can expect to be harmed by the law — including young people, doctors, and health industry workers.