Obamacare: Coming to Your Favorite Primetime Show?


Maybe they can sell the success of the program on "Once Upon a Time" along with the other fairy tales.

Will Mike and Molly soon be browsing HealthCare.gov to find coverage for their diabetes treatments? Will Tyrese on The Walking Dead lament that the zombie apocalypse has ended any possibility of getting the mental health assistance he would have been able to access had the world not ended? Will CSI investigate the murder-suicide of an elderly couple who had their insurance policies canceled because they weren't good enough, according to the Obama administration?

Maybe. A California-based foundation is dangling hundreds of thousands of dollars in front of television shows to see if anybody bites. From the Associated Press:

The California Endowment, a private foundation that is spending millions to promote President Barack Obama's signature law, recently provided a $500,000 grant to ensure TV writers and producers have information about the Affordable Care Act that can be stitched into plot lines watched by millions.

The aim is to produce compelling prime-time narratives that encourage Americans to enroll, especially the young and healthy, Hispanics and other key demographic groups needed to make the overhaul a success.

"We know from research that when people watch entertainment television, even if they know it's fiction, they tend to believe that the factual stuff is actually factual," said Martin Kaplan of the University of Southern California's Norman Lear Center, which received the grant.

Read the whole piece here.

A Republican strategist quoted thinks it's way too late in the game to attempt using television shows to help recover the Affordable Care Act's ailing image and will be perceived as partisan. 

It's much more interesting to imagine what the outcome would have been had ACA supporters had been prepared, and pro-Obamacare stories were showing up on television shows right now as the disaster was unfolding. Imagine patients at Seattle Grace Hospital being earnestly encouraged to visit HealthCare.gov and sign up for coverage in just minutes and have a good laugh.

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  1. Nothing ruins entertainment better than injecting a heavy-handed bunch of propaganda into it. Have fun with this, morons.

    1. I did enjoy that people tried to use Breaking Bad as an example of what’s wrong with out health care system (even SNL couldn’t resist) but were soon corrected that in a socialized system it would’ve have been far worse.

      I haven’t watched the show, but from what I’ve read the reason he went to cooking meth is that he couldn’t afford oncology services from one of the “top ten” oncologists in the country, but he could have received lesser services his HMO would’ve paid for.

      In Canada, he’d never would’ve even had the option, unless he went to the US.

      Sorry progs, try again.

      1. Didn’t his super rich friend offer to pay all his insurance costs, but Walt was too prideful to accept it? Didn’t he actually cook meth because he liked the power he got from it?

        1. Yes, but this didn’t matter to the left. They will seize any popular media for their propaganda.

        2. The initial cooking was supposed to be to cover the medical bills and leave a small nest egg for the family. But once he realized how good he was at making meth, things spiraled out of control pretty quick, especially after Skyler guilt-tripped him into going through chemotherapy.

          1. It was really all about his envy of his former business partner.

            1. Envy? Why would you assume it was so parasitic and pathetic an emotion as envy?

              It was redemption. This was his shot to redeem the mistake he had made in selling out his share of Grey Matter, and of achieving the station that could have been his.

              1. Hmm, maybe it’s because of all the people he was willing to fuck over along the way. The main one being instead of cooperating with Gus, collecting his millions and walking away, he had to be the kingpin. So he ended up killing innocent people (Gale) and poisoning a small child.

                I know a lot of that was self-defense, but he wouldn’t have had to do that if he hadn’t antagonized Gus. If he’d been content to teach Gale his method, collect his money, and leave, none of that would have been necessary.

      2. Walter White HAD health insurance, he just didn’t have out-of-network coverage, so he couldn’t pay for the top lung cancer specialist in his city.

        Ironically, most of the ACA exchange plans don’t either. They have narrow provider networks and NO out-of-network coverage.

        So Walter White would have been absolutely NO BETTER OFF under the ACA. He still would not have been able to see his top-ten oncology specialist. But at least Jesse’s loser friends would have gotten free substance abuse treatment.

  2. Concur, even less-than-subtle product placement has the opposite effect for me and even sours me on the show for insulting me with it.

    1. So Mac and Me isn’t in your top 10?

  3. Wow. I think the producers of “Breaking Bad” just discovered an incredibly salient reason to extend the series.

    1. Better Call Barry!

    2. They could make a prequel series focusing on his disabled son.

      It would be the worst thing on TV since Caprica.

  4. How about a detour challenge in The Amazing Race? “Head to this Internet cafe in Jakarta and sign up for a silver-level plan on the federal exchange.”

    The smart team gives up immediately and takes the 4-hour time penalty.

  5. Future Law & Order SVU episode: a Teabagging extremist Republican refuses to sign his daughter up for socialist Obamacare even though he qualifies for subsidies to purchase a comprehensive plan t treat her mental health issues.

    She ends up running away and entering a world of the illicit sex trade, financed by two billionaire brothers who are attempting to use Citizens United to spread anti-ACA propaganda. Can the dedicate detectives of the Special Victims Unit stop these right-wing monsters?

    1. This seems scairly plausible. Might be too much for just one episode, though. How about the daughter just dies and the parents are put on trial for the murder? Throw in a religious objection.

    2. Can you add that she gets pregnant and becomes a heroin junkie, and then there is a moment of post-partisan bliss when her father eventually relents and agrees to sign her up for the ACA so she can get free rehab, and also agrees to give up his beloved collection of Rush Limbaugh hats.

      At the end of the episode, he tearfully agrees that in the interest of reaching across the partisan divide, he will wear his daughters favorites Obama Hope / Breast-cancer ribbon T-shirt and agree never to display an American flag pin or a snake flag in her presence.

  6. ensure TV writers and producers have information about the Affordable Care Act that can be stitched into plot lines watched by millions.


    1. “ensure TV writers and producers have information about the Affordable Care Act that can be stitched into plot lines watched by millions.”

      They’ve already got plenty and the jokes write themselves!

    2. If the grant is to ensure writers have information about ACA, and to have writers include it in their plotlines, it would seem to allow negative inferences to be written into the plotlines as well.
      I haven’t seen the grant terms, but unless they say the information presented must be favorable, that would seem like a neat counter-fuk the writers could play.

  7. It’s much more interesting to imagine what the outcome would have been had ACA supporters had been prepared, and pro-Obamacare stories were showing up on television shows right now as the disaster was unfolding.

    That would have been priceless.

  8. On Game of Thrones, Daenerys will wish she had Obamacare when her pet dragons bite off both her legs! (If they follow the books, that should happen around the middle of season 4.)

    1. On Fear Factor, contestants will be placed in cage and slowly lowered into a pit full of vipers. The only way they can stop the cage from descending is by successfully registering through the Obamacare website.

      1. Too easy; they all die.

    2. On Game of Thrones, Daenerys will attempts to implement a universal health care system for her subjects. This will be accomplished by a complicated system of forcing everyone to to place bets in the fighting pits of Mereen, where all of the odds are adjusted by an army of priests performing divination on the entrails of the losers, and randomly hurling audience members into the ring in response.

  9. And now for your amusement this evening:
    “Lawmakers push to keep Obama’s health care pledge”
    Seems a dem rep’s son couldn’t figure out how to buy ‘par’ insurance. If a dem can’t be trusted to buy his own insurance, who can?
    “Democratic officials said top administration aides got a close-up view of the cancellation controversy last week, when Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said at a closed-door meeting of the party’s rank and file that his son had received notice his coverage was being terminated.”
    Ought to be a snap! They’ll have the amended web site up and running in time for the ’16 elections at least.

    1. Cripes, SFGate is sticking with that horrid new comment system. The “our new comment system” thread now has over 1600 comments, pretty much all of them negative.

      1. Hey, it’s PROGRESS!
        Seriously, WIH are they supposed to do? They’re scrambling like crazy trying not to go broke.
        Nevius (he spoke at a ‘function’ recently) claimed the new, paid, site is profitable already. You bet! People all over Noe Valley and some other neighborhood pay to read him and two other columnists!

        1. But a new comment system that’s supposed to “monetize” them does no good if commenting drops by 75% and your readership drops by who knows how much.

          1. I didn’t say they were smart, just desperate.
            You noticed they promoted the gal who brain-stormed the worthless “health” Wednesday (extra) section to Editor, right? The section that promises ‘health’ if you eat locally-grown foods? They’re pinning their hopes on folks who think naming tomatoes before you eat them is a social issue!
            And Nevius is a nice enough guy, but his views on business are as ill-informed as that “bottom line” lefty.

            1. I dropped the dead tree edition years ago, and mainly went to the website for the lively comments. Now that’s dead, so I might check it once a week for local news, and that’s it. Kind of a shame, because it used to be a decent paper.

  10. Well, at least it’s a private organization this time. Remember when the Federal Government paid networks and studios to put anti-drug messages in all the shows?

    Very Special Episodes were bad enough before. Finding out I was paying for them with my tax money made them totally unbearable.

  11. Sterling Archer learns to love the ACA since all the women he sleeps with can now afford birth control. Ray learns to love the ACA since all the men he sleeps with can now afford birth control. Unfortunately for them, Mallory blackmails Obama into repealing the law after getting the tax bill on her Cadillac plan.

    1. More story lines: The ISIS drones are all excited to be able to buy insurance since Mallory didn’t provide it and their work with a spy agency was counted as a pre-existing condition. Krieger was able find insurance for his van and holographic wife by claiming them as dependents under the age of 26. Cheryl falls in love with Obamacare because she gets turned on by its commanding mandates and strangling regulations.

      I should just go work in Hollywood. This is gold, Jerry! Gold!

      1. More: Ben Bernanke is The Architect of the Leftoid Matrix, a potemkin reality supported entirely by the monetization of fiat debt under a global reserve currency regime. Through heroic strength, determination and independence, a group of rugged rural libertarians unplug themselves from the leftoid matrix of subjectivism and relativism.

        But Tony sold them out in exchange for free shit, but the libertarian country boys suspected him to be a queer anyway; in a meeting with Obozo, he said “I know this healthcare isn’t free, I know this isn’t healthcare at all, but relative to the prospect of facing reality, ignorance is bliss.”

      2. Cheryl falls in love with Obamacare because she gets turned on by its commanding mandates and strangling regulations.


  12. Man that makes no sense at all dude. None.


  13. I don’t watch television. And this is why.

  14. Any thoughts who would be the beneficial entities that would bankroll this?

  15. The funny thing about all this blue vs. red propaganda war over Obama-clusterfuck is that it pretty much doesn’t matter. Unlike most day-to-day federal policy changes that only effect small segments of the population or whose effects are removed from directly impacting individuals, the beauty of large-scale reforms is that they impact tens of millions of people. Controlling the narrative or rolling the daily grind of pro-gov speel doesn’t change that millions of people will have the privledge of having their very own experience with Obamacare.
    They get to lose their un-worthy insurance.
    They get to browse the crappy website.
    They get to have sticker shock.
    After signing up, sometime next month, they’ll have to scrape up a payment (before Christmas (war on xmas!)).
    They’ll get to know their new doctor – three towns over.

    This is hitting millions, and no matter what the people in the tv box say, it’s is not fun. And expect those impacted to regal their family, friends and coworkers of their thoughts and feelings concerning Obama and Care – for months and maybe years to come.

    1. “This is hitting millions, and no matter what the people in the tv box say, it’s is not fun.”

      I sure hope you’re right. It seems the supply of new lies (It’s only rotten insurance that cot canceled!) keeps up with the horror stories, and a lot of people seem to buy them.

    2. Thanksgiving and Christmas are such a wonderful time to reconnect with family and friends, many oh whom will have had their plans cancelled.

      I hope progressives enjoy the experience of attempting to explain to their parents that their health plans were actually worthless junk, and that they are “losers” who should be honored to be helping pay for other people’s birth control pills and therapy.

      1. …”their health plans were actually worthless junk,”…
        In watching the media today, it seems the ‘We only canceled junk plans’ lie has run its very short course; there are still murmurs of it, but it no longer takes center stage.
        I hope I am wrong and you (and other optimists at whom I have directed scorn) are correct and Obo actually pays for his sleazy lies.
        There is this:
        “Lawmakers push to keep Obama’s health care pledge”

        1. Holy shit, are the Republican morons or what?

          Right now, they could get a wholesale revision of the “mandatory minimum”, to eliminate all the bullshit maternity and substance abuse and mental health coverage. They could get it pared down to catastrophic coverage.

          But they are going to settle for JUST an extension of existing plans.

          HOLY GOD they are stupid! They don’t even know what to do with a golden opportunity when it falls in their fucking laps.

  16. I want to see Mordecai and Rigby of “Regular Show” battle the Obamacare website.

    1. Finn would have B-Mo try to load the excahnge website, then B-Mo would display a cute error icon and the episode would be over.

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