Reality Imitates The Onion on Public Ignorance About Obamacare

In this recent article, The Onion pokes fun at public ignorance about Obamacare [HT: several readers and Facebook friends who alerted me to the article]:

As debate continues in Washington over the funding of President Obama’s health care initiative, sources confirmed Thursday that 39-year-old Daniel Seaver, a man who understands a total of 8 percent of the Affordable Care Act, offered a vehement defense of the legislation to 41-year-old Alex Crawford, who understands 5 percent of it.

“First of all, Obamacare will reduce insurance premiums for most people, and no one can be denied coverage if they have preexisting conditions and stuff like that,” said Seaver, displaying over half of his 8 percent grasp on the sweeping health care reform policy. “Which means a whole bunch of uninsured Americans—I’m talking millions of people here—will finally have access to health care. How can you not get behind that?”

“And Medicare has nothing to do with this, by the way—that’s a separate thing,” continued Seaver, adding one of the few remaining facts he knows about Obamacare. “This just deals with the private insurance companies and makes sure they can’t, you know, drive up costs through the roof.”

According to reports, Seaver mounted an impressive case given his severely limited knowledge of the actual law itself, bolstering his 8 percent understanding of the Affordable Care Act with his 6 percent awareness of the nation’s current economic landscape. Crawford, meanwhile, demonstrated just about the full extent of his understanding of Obamacare by claiming that its provisions could potentially kill jobs.

Sources confirmed that, if asked, neither man would actually be able to correctly define the term “HMO” or coherently explain what a health care exchange actually is and how such a thing would actually work on a regional basis.


The Onion’s
fictional characters may actually know more about Obamacare than most real-world people do. Recent polls show that 42% do not even realize that Obamacare is still the law, and two thirds say they have heard little or nothing about the insurance exchanges that are a central feature of legislation. Unfortunately, such widespread ignorance about Obamacare is just a part of the broader problem of political ignorance.