As if the ads for “Brosurance” and “Hosurance” didn’t effectively demonstrate this fact, Caroline Baum notes that the key to Obamacare’s success with young people may rest in appealing to the lowest common denominator:
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?
Third, change the psychology so that it’s cool to have health care. Create a rap video with a half-naked heart throb gyrating to music as he sings, “Bye-bye ER, I’m gonna miss you.” Or the White House could ask its friends in Hollywood to develop a reality TV show.