The Pitchman

In Obamacare speech, I Was Reminded of Circus Carnies

“The product is good. The health insurance that’s being provided is good. It’s high quality, and it’s affordable,” that’s what the president said and he kept on pitching his product,  “People can save money — significant money — by getting insurance that’s being provided through these marketplaces.”

How much would you pay for a health plan like this? Before you answer, listen to this:

Obama touting Obamacare
Obama touting Obamacare

“No one who decides to buy a plan has to pay their first premium until December 15th. And unlike the day after Thanksgiving sales for the latest PlayStation or flat-screen TVs, the insurance plans don’t run out.” 

And that’s only the beginning.

“The Affordable Care Act is not just a Web site. It’s much more,” Obama said. “Billions of dollars have been saved by seniors already. That’s part of the law. It’s already in place. It’s happening right now.”

Wow I want that!  I will pay whatever it takes to get that marvelous insurance plan. 

“Nearly six in 10 uninsured Americans will find that they can get coverage for less than $100 a month,” the president went on and on and on. “Through the marketplaces, you can get health insurance for what may be the equivalent of your cellphone bill. Or your cable bill. And that’s a good deal. ... And that product is working. It’s really good.”

He reminds me of when those Ginsu knives were pushed… ‘and If you act now, you’ll also get the matching carving fork, the versatile six-in-one kitchen tool, a set of six steak knives and the spiral slicer — all for $9.95.’   And Barack continues…

“I want the checkout lines to be smooth. So I want people to be able to get this great product,” said the president of the United States, even giving out the toll-free number from the presidential podium. “Call centers are already up and running, and you can get your questions answered by real people, 24 hours a day, in 150 different languages. The phone number for these call centers is 1-800-318-2596. I want to repeat that: 1-800-318-2596.”

It was quite a pitch — a bit too needy for my taste. And then, as Obama was closing his ACA infomercial, a woman standing right behind him fainted and the people nearby caught her; Obama turned around to help. “This happens when I talk too long,” he quipped.

Talking too long, but after all, that’s what he does best. Obama’s pitch carried a tone of desperation, perhaps because he feels too few are signing up for ACA and it has him squirming. The product he rolled out three weeks ago was seriously defective.  And why?  His personal website functioned great and helped immeasurably to choose him, both times.

His administration says the widespread registration problems on are just “glitches” and “kinks.” But the difficulties see much bigger.  Unless millions of people sign up for the health-care exchanges, Obamacare will be in trouble. And of course you cannot get an honest answer from his administration about how many have signed up. The screw-up, Obama acknowledged, has emboldened opponents and unnerved supporters. Stealing the headlines of the past couple of weeks has been the shutdown of government and the debt ceiling.  If not for those happenings Obama’s blunder would have been a major story.

Pitchman Obama has played the part before when he bailed out the auto industry (“starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty”) and stabilized home mortgages (“If you are having problems with your mortgage, and even if you’re not and you just want to save some money, you can go to”). But this time he knows that if Obamacare fails, so will Obama and his party.

The Rose Garden at the White House had about 200 people (reporters joked that this was the total number of people nationwide who successfully navigated, including some in white coats.  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius nodding along from the front row of the audience, the commander-in-chief hawked health-care plans the way George Foreman sells grills and James Dyson sells vacuums.

He began with a happy customer’s testimonial. Janice Baker, the first person to register for Obamacare in Delaware, pronounced herself “thrilled,” and she encouraged others to be patient. Obama followed with his hard sell: “Prices have come down. … There’s a massive demand for it. … Visited nearly 20 million times. … A good deal at low costs. … People are rushing. … Thrilled with the result. … Exceeding expectations.”

The salesman said he wouldn’t sugarcoat the failures, which he’s addressing with a “tech surge.” Said Obama: “Nobody’s madder than me about the fact that the website isn’t working as well as it should, which means it’s going to get fixed.”

That’s important. If Obama can’t fix the problems, and quickly, the opposition will slice and dice Obamacare and make it into Julienne fries — and no sales pitch will save it.





Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.

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