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.

Follow this story and more at Reason 24/7.

Spice up your blog or Website with Reason 24/7 news and Reason articles. You can get the widgets here. If you have a story that would be of interest to Reason's readers please let us know by emailing the 24/7 crew at 24_7@reason.com, or tweet us stories at @reason247.