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Buy ObamaCare, get a free bag of pot

I’m not quite sure what to make of the Bloomberg News opinion piece that suggests giving a free bag of pot to kids who enroll in ObamaCare.  The author, Caroline Baum, is sharply critical of ObamaCare at the beginning, casting the White House for failing to “grasp what makes individuals and businesses tick… whether it’s taxes or regulations, Obama doesn’t understand the basis of a capitalist economy.”

She goes on to give the designers of the Affordable Care Act (she misspells the name as “Accountable Care Act”) grief for setting the tax/penalty for non-compliance too low, making it an attractive option for the Young Invincibles to pay the penalty instead of buying one of those lousy, overpriced, high-deductible ObamaCare plans.  But of course, the con artists who created ObamaCare couldn’t have set the trans-Constitutional tax/penalty any higher, because public revulsion against monster tax increases would have killed the bill.

Noting that ObamaCare cannot survive without the money fleeced from those Young Invincibles, Baum scoffs at the notion of trying to hit them with another celebrity advertising blitz, and instead think outside the box to lure them in with “incentives:”

First, announce and advertise that everyone between the ages of 18 and 34 who enrolls on the health-care exchanges by the end of the year is automatically entered in a lottery. Winners will receive everything from a free iPhone or iPad to a full-year of health-care underwritten by Uncle Sam. Refer a friend and get a discount. Buy one (year), get one free. In states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use — Colorado and Washington — by all means, throw in a bag of cannabis.

It isn’t fair, you say? Who said life is fair? Obamacare is based on the idea of young, healthy people, who don’t use a lot of health-care services, subsidizing the sick and elderly. Their generation is on the hook for the debt incurred to provide for the baby boomers in retirement. So forget fair.

Second, get lenders into the act. Financial institutions could do for health-care what they did for real estate: lure potential borrowers with teaser rates that reset higher over the next few years. (Yes, the terms would be in the small print, but who reads that stuff?) Create collateralized debt obligations from health-care loans, slap a AAA-rating on them and drive the next bubble. Isn’t that what some smart economists are talking about right now: the need for another asset bubble to give the U.S. economy some added oomph?

I can’t help thinking the author’s tongue is planted in her cheek when she writes this, although I’m not sure what she’s satirizing – young people?  Central planning?  Capitalism?  Debt bubbles?  Obamanomics?  Lotteries?  All of the above?  

Upon reflection, that makes me appreciate this piece as a sarcasm H-bomb even more.  If you’re going to satirize an absurd situation like ObamaCare, might as well make it the snark equivalent of a Wild West saloon brawl.  The only way this could be funnier would be if she’s dead serious about every word of it.  In any event, bravo!

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