Topics: Obamacare

Examiner Editorial: Tax dollars for Obamacare video contest aimed at 'young invincibles'

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Polls consistently show a majority of Americans disapprove of Obamacare. It's also becoming clear that young Americans know forgoing Obamacare coverage and instead paying a penalty is cheaper than purchasing insurance they likely won't use. Without millions of healthy "young invincibles" signing on the dotted line for Obamacare, it won't be able to cover millions more older people who require lots of medical services. The White House solution to this Catch-22? A tax-funded contest to reward participants for creating videos that promote the unpopular law to young people. The Washington Examiner is not making this up.

Courtesy of taxpayers, who weren't asked about the cockamamy scheme, there is a prize pool of $30,000 for contestants who submit videos in one of three formats: a skit, song or animation designed to persuade young people that they aren't invincible. The easiest of the three is obviously the skit, so the pro-Obamacare outfit partnering with the Department of Health and Human Services on the contest encourages entrants "to go big but stay safe!" Perhaps special prizes will be awarded to young invincibles injured for the Great Leader while doing skits to sell his health care scheme.

The federal government has a $75 million marketing budget for Obamacare, including the $30,000 for the contest. Three first-place winners will receive $3,000 each, while second- and third-place winners will receive $2,500 each. Naturally, taxes will be taken out of those winnings. More than 100 other prizes will be awarded. Obama has no other choice than to pursue such gimmicks because, as Sam Stein of the Huffington Post notes, "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."

The contest is but one of multiple ways Obama hopes to encourage young people to fork over their hard-earned money (or unemployment benefits if they are among the unlucky 16.3 percent without jobs) to purchase health insurance they probably won't need in order to subsidize premiums for people who actually do require substantial health insurance.

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, contends that "for millions of young people, health insurance hasn't been an option because it's always been out of reach — because it costs too much, or isn't offered through a job." But look at the option Obamacare offers young people: costly government-approved health insurance plans packed with all sorts of expensive bells and whistles that are rarely of value to anybody under 30. If the president and Sebelius were serious about helping young people get decent health insurance, Obamacare would offer inexpensive "catastrophic" plans that would cover serious illness or injury. Nobody should hold their breath waiting for this to happen.

The propaganda contest ends Sept. 23, giving would-be filmmakers a little more than five weeks to submit entries. The videos will be available for viewing Oct. 1, the same day Obamacare's state exchanges are supposed to open for business. Instead of signing up for Obamacare, watching the contest submissions for laughs might be the better option for young Americans.

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