Frankly, if creative-types somehow manage to put lipstick on the grotesque pig known as Obamacare, they deserve some sort of award. Too bad we're paying for it. Think of it this way, young filmmakers -- if you win Kathleen Sebelius' propaganda contest, you might be able to afford the law's rising premiums for a year or two. So congrats in advance, or something:
The administration will partner with Young Invincibles, a non-profit youth issues organization, to run the contest, with the goal of reaching those younger Americans who are skeptical of the need for health coverage. Participants will be encouraged to submit three different types of videos advertising the benefits of the exchanges: a song, an animated short, or a video designed to convince viewers that they aren't invincible. Using funds from the Affordable Care Act's education and outreach budget, HHS will award $3,000 each to the creators of the three most popular and persuasive videos, while second and third place winners will get $2,500 each...The contest is designed to dispel the notion that even young and healthy individuals would be better off simply not purchasing health insurance. It may seem like an odd choice of battlegrounds. But attracting the young demographic is key to the effectiveness of the exchanges, providing insurers with the type of low-risk customers that will help lower premiums across the board. It's no coincidence that many conservative opponents of the Affordable Care Act are actively urging young people to skip the exchanges altogether, even though doing so would mean incurring the tax penalty for not having insurance coverage.
Of course it's true that young people aren't "invincible." No human being is. But the young are a lot less likely to need costly medical care than older folks, which is why Obamacare is such a lousy deal for them. In order for the law to cover high-risk, high-cost patients (including those with pre-existing conditions), it must significantly overcharge the young and healthy. The latter group would generally be best-served by procuring inexpensive "catastrophic" plans, under which they're covered in the event of a statistically unlikely medical emergency or serious illness. Instead, they'll be required to purchase plans packed with ancillary and expensive mandates, driving up the price tag -- by a lot, in many cases. In spite of the Sebelius dog-and-pony show, the rational move for millions of young-ish, fairly healthy Americans is to pay the relatively low individual mandate tax as a penalty for not obtaining government-approved insurance. But then they'd be at great risk if something goes wrong! Not really. If a thirty-something suffers a serious medical incident, he or she must be treated at an Emergency Room. Then, once the next Obamacare's open enrollment period rolls around, insurance companies would be required to take them on, regardless of their recent medical history. It's after-the-fact "insurance," which is an oxymoron. The only way this sort of system doesn't collapse is if the overwhelming majority of healthy people agree to pay more than they currently do for coverage. That's a tough sell, especially when they've been promised repeatedly that the law will substantially reduce their premiums. Even if you factor in the much-balleyhooed taxpayer-funded subsidies, the majority of people in the individual marketplace won't be eligible (once eligibility standards are implemented, that is), and many of those who do qualify will still see their rates increase. And of course there's the latest Obamacare delay, which undercuts the rationale for overpaying with Obamacare even further. I broke this controversy down with Neil Cavuto yesterday:
Parting thought: Is this a win/win for Democrats? If they coax, manipulate, prod, and bully enough people into participating in Obamacare, their system doesn't collapse -- even if it's still deeply flawed. That's a low bar, but a "win" at this stage. But if the funding "death spiral" ensues, Harry Reid & Co. waltz in with a new "solution." Before you answer my question, read the tail end of John McCormack's take on the second scenario.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography