Hard Sell

In the 1980s, Michael Lewis had a cup of coffee pedaling mortgage-backed, and high yield, low-rated so-called “junk bonds” at Salomon Brothers, and then wrote Liar’s Poker, an amusing (more or less) true life look at Wall Street in the go-go 1980s. For the latest edition of the Weekly Standard, Matt Labash goes undercover,  “door-to-door with the foot soldiers of Get Covered America,” to observe first-hand what it’s like to pedal junk insurance:


At the Hollywood public library, I meet up with Get Covered America’s Katie Vicsik and Rhianna Hurt, 2 of 28 Florida staffers (they also have nearly 1,800 volunteers on the ground in the state). They are twentysomething, earnest, clipboard-carrying, and as adorable as speckled pups. They’re the Platonic ideal of Obama campaign staffers (which they both were) from back in the salad days, when the winds of hope’n’change blew across the prairie, and there was still dew on the world.

To be sure, these Obamacare evangelists are not insurance saleswomen. They’re not closers. They don’t actually sign people up for policies in the Obamacare marketplace, but rather, direct them how to do so. They sing the attractively anodyne highlights of the program—“financial help is available,” no discrimination for preexisting conditions. They give phone numbers and information to help people meet in person with a Navigator (a contractor paid to guide enrollees through the process) and circumvent the plagued website. They are goodwill ambassadors. They are, in a sense, storytellers. And it’s a hard gig to be an Obamacare storyteller these days, because for the last two months, there have been so many stories told. Not good stories, either. In fact, if Obamacare threatens to bankrupt any industry, it’s the liberal-media-bias-watchdog industry. Since now, news outlets across the spectrum are falling over each other to tell Obamacare stories, mostly about how lousy Obamacare is.

They tell stories of how the cancellation-to-enrollment ratio is 50-to-1. Or how 34 times more people are interested in buying guns than Obamacare. Or how only five people enrolled in D.C., one enrolled in North Carolina, and none in Oregon. Or how cancer patients are losing their doctors. Or how premiums will increase by an average of 41 percent. Or how 40 percent of HealthCare.gov’s “back office functions” haven’t been built yet. Or the story of the Brooklyn couple who are considering divorce just so they can get better rates on their newly hiked insurance.


Or the cancer patient who spoke out against Obamacare on Fox News, who’s being audited — back to 2003. Forward!



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