June 28 2013

Spooky: School Kids to Be Trained to Promote ObamaCare...

Patrice J. Lee

Los Angeles must have a lot of money to spend and they are spending it on the things that really matter like car, iPad and bike giveaways. Their latest baffling expenditure: training students to peddle ObamaCare to family members.

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) received almost $1 million from Covered California, the state’s healthcare exchange, to fund a pilot program that trains teens to be messengers on the new healthcare offerings.  The aim is to get as many people enrolled in the public option as possible.

A spokesman for the school system explained:

“Teens are part of a ‘pilot’ program to test whether young people can be trained as messengers to deliver outreach and limited education to family and friends in and around their homes. Teens will be educating adults that they already know (e.g., family or friends) and not other adults.”

So in addition to –or perhaps instead of- discussing the yuckiness of dissecting frog corpses around the dinner table, kids will put their newly learned PR techniques to good use in convincing their parents to sign up for government healthcare.

The communications industry has spent millions (perhaps billions of dollars) on market research to study the influence children wield over the buying decisions of their parents. When you apply that influence to the healthcare decisions of the household, we can easily see the potential boon of this pilot program. Given that the LAUSD is the second largest school district in the nation, a success here is sure to be a model for other public schools systems.

In addition, to promote ObamaCare staff will place calls to students’ homes, host in-class presentations, and convene meetings with employees eligible for the free healthcare .Nice to see tax dollars going to productive use.

The question that I hope you’re asking yourself, as I asked myself: Is this is an appropriate use of the public funds?

And more troubling this program sets a precedent for students pushing “government-preferred messaging” to their families. Should kids be used as propaganda mouthpieces? This tactic is probably not new.  Growing up in the late ‘80s, I remember how teachers and school staff tried to incite fear in our young minds and hearts about the damage of deforestation by leading us to believe that there were only a million trees left – it was never clear whether they meant in the state, U.S. or the world. But my young mind knew something was amiss. When driving along the highway, I couldn’t reconcile how there could only be a million trees as I counted what appeared to be an endless sea foliage.

If this program doesn’t hit its target enrollment numbers, big government advocates still have reason to be hopeful because the seeds they’ve planted in young people about a boundless role for government will one day spring up. Think of this as a pilot program to train students to become spokesmen for ObamaCare (or even other causes?) in the future.

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