Giv­ing thanks for Oba­macare

Pres­i­dent’s cam­paign seeks en­roll­ment cheer in the hol­i­days

The Washington Times Daily - - Editorial -

Pres­i­dent Obama’s min­ions want fam­ily hol­i­day gath­er­ings to be a time for re­flec­tion on the bless­ings of Health­care.gov. Or­ga­niz­ing for Ac­tion, the re­branded ver­sion of Mr. Obama’s po­lit­i­cal ma­chine, has un­veiled an ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign de­signed to boost Oba­macare’s em­bar­rass­ing en­roll­ment num­bers. It’s ti­tled “Health Care for the Hol­i­day.”

The cam­paign script urges peo­ple to “take ad­van­tage of down­time af­ter meals or be­tween hol­i­day ac­tiv­i­ties to start your talk.” It wants fam­ily mem­bers to pester one an­other with the ques­tion, “Have you thought about sign­ing up for health in­sur­ance on the new mar­ket­place?” The mar­ket­ing ma­te­rial care­fully omits use of the word “Oba­macare,” just as it also silent about the can­celed poli­cies, pre­mium in­creases and shrink­ing ac­cess to doc­tors and hos­pi­tals that have re­sulted from the govern­ment in­ter­ven­tion into the mar­ket­place.

In the un­likely event that some­one ac­tu­ally wants to put down the cran­berry sauce and stuff­ing in fa­vor of log­ging in and down­load­ing an Oba­macare pol­icy on Thurs­day, that in­di­vid­ual will likely be dis­ap­pointed. Of­fi­cials at the Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices hope the failed Health­care. gov web­site will be al­most func­tional by Dec. 1, but they’re not mak­ing any more prom­ises.

Mr. Obama, on the other hand, is as com­mit­ted as ever. “As we go into the hol­i­day sea­son,” the pres­i­dent said in a con­fer­ence call to sup­port­ers last week, “... now is the time to re­mind peo­ple that, ‘Look, we’ve got to make sure that ev­ery­body takes ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity to get af­ford­able cov­er­age for the first time.’”

Turn­ing a fes­tive fam­ily gath­er­ing into an oc­ca­sion for pros­e­ly­ti­za­tion is just the sort of dis­rup­tive tac­tic that can­di­date Obama rec­om­mended in a Septem­ber 2008 stump speech in which he urged sup­port­ers to carry his cam­paign mes­sage to their friends and neigh­bors. “I want you to ar­gue with them,” he said. “Get in their face.”

A writer for the on­line magazine Slate agreed last week in a snarky es­say “How to Pick a Fight With Your Rel­a­tives This Thanks­giv­ing.” Though John Cook didn’t urge mak­ing a sales pitch for Oba­macare specif­i­cally, he did ad­vise stick­ing to “short, sar­cas­tic, ten­den­tious re­marks to get things go­ing.” He sug­gests say­ing, “I’m thank­ful for all that free stuff Obama gave me.” Lib­er­als like Mr. Cook see a sport­ing value in rub­bing pas­sage of the health care takeover in the faces of its op­po­nents. MSNBC host Chris Hayes like­wise tweeted a promo for his pro­gram: “De­vot­ing our whole show on Wed­nes­day to how to talk pol­i­tics, news with con­ser­va­tive fam­ily mem­bers,” he wrote. “Should be fun.”

The Tea Party Pa­tri­ots is coun­ter­ing the ef­fort to hi­jack the hol­i­day, which co­in­cides with the start of Hanukkah, with its own “Thanks­giv­ing Tool­kit.” The doc­u­ment of­fers re­but­tals to the Oba­macare spin ma­chine along with ideas for health care re­form that would ac­tu­ally make cov­er­age more af­ford­able.

Turkey Day has al­ways been about rec­og­niz­ing and ap­pre­ci­at­ing all the good things we have in life. One thing is cer­tain: Oba­macare isn’t one of them.

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