Elise Hilton

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Hollywood gets half a million dollars to push Obamacare

Wed Nov 6, 2013 - 10:39 am EST

It’s a bit hard to imagine. Maybe during your favorite medical drama, as the fictional doctors and nurses rush to save a life, one of the doctors will slip in a line like, “Thank goodness this patient is covered under the Affordable Care Act!”

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In an effort to pitch Obamacare to the masses, The California Endowment, a private fund, has given a $500,000 grant to ensure that Hollywood writers work the Affordable Care Act into television story lines.

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.”

The 18-month grant is meant to educate staffs of prime-time television and Spanish television shows. The University of Southern California’s Norman Lear Center, which is meant to “bridge the gap” between entertainment and academia, is the grant recipient. The school’s Martin Kaplan had this to say,

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.” He continued on to say that “people learn from these shows.”

Arthur Caplan, head of the division of medical ethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, supports Obamacare, but not the use of media in this manner.

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If there are drawbacks and glitches and discontent, that should be part of the presentations…

“It should not be a place to propagandize; it should be a place to have honest open discussion, wrinkles and all, flaws and all, on health reform,” he said. Critics of the law will be closely watching to see if “Hollywood might be airbrushing the president’s core program, because they are close to the Democrats.”

Fact may be stranger than fiction, but in this case, serious health care discussions become “infotainment.” How much information and how much entertainment is involved remains to be seen.

Reprinted with permission from The Acton Institute


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