Monday, September 17, 2012

Coming Attractions: Obamacare Goes Hollywood!

Over the weekend, the New York Times reported on California’s attempts to implement Obamacare.  Among other things, the state is looking to build support for the law by hiring a PR firm to engage in some old-fashioned Hollywood propaganda:

Realizing that much of the battle will be in the public relations realm, the exchange has poured significant resources into a detailed marketing plan — developed not by state health bureaucrats but by the global marketing powerhouse Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, which has an initial $900,000 contract with the exchange….

And Hollywood, an industry whose major players have been supportive of President Obama and his agenda, will be tapped.  Plans are being discussed to pitch a reality television show about “the trials and tribulations of families living without medical coverage,” according to the Ogilvy plan.  The exchange will also seek to have prime-time television shows, like “Modern Family,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and Univision telenovelas, weave the health care law into their plots.  “I’d like to see 10 of the major TV shows, or telenovelas, have people talking about ‘that health insurance thing,’ ” said Peter V. Lee, the exchange’s executive director.  “There are good story lines here.”

Indeed, there are many good story lines – and television show ideas – from Obamacare.  We have several we’d like to suggest:

“The Office:”  Kathleen Sebelius and federal bureaucrats channel Dwight Schrute in the famous “Health Care” episode, deciding which treatments and diseases will, and will not, be covered under Obamacare.  No word yet on whether Count Choculitis will in fact be considered a covered benefit under the law.

“Lost:”  Instead of being trapped on an island, participants in this series will instead be marooned in a vast federal bureaucracy including 159 new boards, bureaucracies, and programs, along with over 12,800 pages of regulations.  In the pilot episode, thousands of small businesses found that Obamacare’s complex small business tax credit left them stranded and confused amidst a complicated array of paperwork that bogged down their firms – and saw many businesses not qualify for a credit at all.

Nick Riviera, M.D.:”  The networks originally proposed a revival of the popular “Marcus Welby” series.  Unfortunately, due to Obamacare’s unsustainable reductions in Medicare reimbursement rates, Dr. Welby – along with many other medical providers – will soon stop practicing medicine.  As a result, the networks resorted to “The Simpsons’” most famous graduate of Hollywood Upstairs Medical College.  Expect to see members of the medical review board as recurring characters in this show…

“Unhappy Days:”  In this show, Tom Bosley is forced to shrink his hardware store business, as Obamacare’s employer mandate will discourage new employment.  Rather than pay tens of thousands of dollars in penalties, he stops hiring new workers and converts his full-time employees to part-time status.  His workers respond with a single despondent reaction: “Whoa!

Coming soon to a small screen near you!