The healthcare insurance company’s chief lobbyist smiled. â€œWelcome to the tour of our hall of scary masks and costumes. For spreading the fear of healthcare reform they can’t be beat.”
â€œHereâ€™s the alien mask,â€ the lobbyist said. â€œWe have our guy put this one on, walk the streets and shout, â€˜Iâ€™m a Canadian. I had to wait all day to see a doctor. Help me!â€™ Canadians didn’t used to be that scary, but these days that mask is a winner.
“Then there’s the Mexicano outfit. It’s really just a big sombrero and mustache. Our guy wearing that outfit doesnâ€™t even have to say anything. He just hangs around outside hospital emergency rooms. If the mediaâ€™s around we put three or four of our people there. Then we’re pretty sure the evening news will run a story about how the illegal aliens are using up our healthcare system. Itâ€™s good for a scare in the border states.”
â€œNext is our wooden African mask. We put this on where right-wingers gather â€“ like boat shows. The person wearing it just has to say “Obamacare’ and the people there are so scared they start calling their concierge doctors on the spot.â€
“Then we have our ‘The Government’s gonna’ get you’ series of masks.
“The gas mask is our latest addition. Our man wearing the mask walks up to people at senior citizen centers and gives them a thumbs up or thumbs down. Then he says ‘Healthcare reform. You live! You die!’ Seniors get so scared we have to hand out boxes of adult diapers.
“Another great mask to use with the senior citizens is this gorilla mask. Our man goes to golf courses where seniors play, jumps up and down and beats his chest. Then he growls, ‘Healthcare reform. Hand over your medical care! Gimme your health coverage!â€™ Then he rips up sheets of paper labeled ‘Senior Medical Coverage’. When seniors see this one, they hop in their golf carts and burn rubber.
“If that doesn’t work we dress up our man with a pirate outfit â€“ hat, eye patch, beard, and clothes. He stands outside restaurants that offer early-bird specials and says, â€˜Healthcare reform. Off with your weight, you fat geezer, or it’s off with your head! Aaaaargh.’ That one really cuts down the buffet line.
“For the security freaks, we have this black mask. We have one of our women wear it outside of buildings with doctor’s offices. She just stands there reading a big red folder labeled ‘Confidential Medical Records.’ It’s a good scare for people who care about privacy.
“We have our guy put on this zombie mask with the dried blood. He stands outside town hall meetings and moans, ‘The cost of healthcare reform is sucking me dry. Owwwww! It hurts!â€™ Tying high cost to healthcare reform always gets the crowd whipped into a good zombie-like mob.
â€œFear is the key,” concluded the lobbyist. “When people are afraid, thereâ€™s no discussion and no compromise. Just like we learned last time we won â€“ scare people, kill the debate, and healthcare reform goes down. Then we can go back to healthcare insurers deciding what health care our customers can get.”
â€œBut suppose healthcare reform gets enacted?â€ I ask.
â€œDonâ€™t even want to think about it,â€ answered the lobbyist. â€œLosing our juicy profits scares me to death.â€