While the president was seeking to enroll as many uninsured people as possible in the new Obamacare exchanges this fall, the GOP was hard at work telling people not to. House Speaker John Boehner was so convinced that government health insurance is a bad thing that he enlisted a group of poor and indigent folk to advise him. Republican operatives recruited sick and injured people without health insurance from emergency rooms around the country.
In focus groups facilitated by the “Re-lie-ability Group” participants talked about the many interesting people they met while waiting for hours to be told to go to the emergency room in another hospital six hours away. Participants told stories of sleeping on the floor, being in pain and yelled at, and feeling ignored for hours. In its final report to the GOP, “Re-lie-ability” noted that such experiences build character and resilience, themes that the GOP will use in its campaign against Obamacare.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” will be a key message of the strategy.
A second group to offer guidance to the GOP consisted of people without health insurance who went bankrupt because of medical bills. Members of this group claimed that bankruptcy was such a unique experience that they would have never been able to experience it if they had health insurance.
A spokesperson for the group noted that “bankruptcy gave us a lot to talk about; it kept us engaged and busy for a long time. Since the bankruptcy, we have not had a dull moment in our life.” The GOP is going to promote bankruptcy as the cure for common boredom — to say nothing of its preventive qualities against mischief.
Republicans learned so much from people without health insurance that they decided to give up their own Medicare and ask their elderly parents to do the same, starting in 2099.
In an effort to defund Obamacare, the president’s signature health plan, some senators went to great lengths, such as Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who spoke for 21 hours on the Senate floor about the catastrophic consequences of embracing Obamacare, such as boredom and moral degeneracy.
“Going bankrupt and waiting in emergency rooms are unique American experiences that build character,” claimed the senator from Texas. “Obamacare will spoil our children with access to doctors and economic security,” argued Cruz. “Pretty soon we will look like the average Canadian, devoid of challenges and bereft of meaning in life.”
Republicans are so sick of Obamacare that they threatened to shut down the government if the health plan was not defunded. Although this sounded like a bad idea at first, some silver linings quickly emerged. Despite initial opposition from many quarters, it quickly became clear that there are many benefits to a government shutdown.
A poll released the day after Sen. Cruz ranted for 21 hours revealed that the vast majority of people favored a government shutdown. The scientific poll broke down the answers by groups.
Benefits of a government shutdown according to . . .
• Democrats in the Senate: We will not have to hear Republican Sen. Ted Cruz talking about shutting down the government.
• Republicans in the Senate: We will not have to contort ourselves trying to justify Cruz’s 21-hour rant.
• Chamber of Commerce: Government employees will have time to do their Christmas shopping early, provided there is a continuing resolution that they will get paid.
• Bashar al-Assad: The Syrian government will look good.
• National Rifle Association: It will give us more time to introduce target shooting as a reimbursable weight-loss activity under Obamacare.
• President Obama: Time to play basketball.
• Vladimir Putin: LOL
• Healthcare industry in South Florida: Three more days of undetected Medicare fraud!
• Snooki: Say what?
As we now know, the government did shut down, but the pundits did not shut up, leading to a fiftyfold increase in the audience watching YouTube reruns of Snooki performing on Dancing with the Stars.
Indeed, there were many silver linings this week. Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu visited President Obama the day the government was about to shut down. For the first time ever, the two men agreed on most points. Here’s an excerpt from their conversation:
Netanyahu: Mr. President, your exchanges with Hassan Rouhani from Iran send the wrong message to the world.
Obama: Thanks for bringing up the topic of exchanges. I’m also concerned about them. We are opening our health exchanges Oct. 1 and want to make sure that as many people as possible sign up for them.
Netanyahu: Mr. President, we are also very concerned about the health of our relationship with the United States.
Obama: Bibi, there is nothing to worry about. There is no health problem that Obamacare won’t fix.
Isaac Prilleltensky is dean of the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Miami. Look for his humor blog at http://prilleltensky.blogspot.com.