WA Healthcare Exchange “Bribing” Young People with Concert Tickets? UPDATE
At first glance, some young people might think this is pretty cool. Pictured is an image from the Healthcare exchange Facebook page.
Washington's Healthcare Exchange announced Wednesday they are partnering with the concert promotional company Live Nation to give young "insurables" a chance to win tickets to the famous Sasquatch Music Festival that takes place in Seattle.
Live Nation is the producer of the noted festival, and according to the Washington Healthplan Finder release, the purpose is to "educate" these "Young Invincibles" about the new ways to find health coverage.
Washington Healthplanfinder is featuring a sweepstakes contest on it's Facebook page where young people 18-34 can enter to win tickets to the festival's launch party in February, and VIP ticket packages to the festival. According to the release:
" The program will also involve an interactive presence at select Live Nation concerts across the state and sponsorship of the Sasquatch! Music Festival Launch Party in February 2014. Outreach will also take place through Live Nation’s, Sasquatch!’s and Ticketmaster’s websites, print and radio advertising, and social media channels."
The state healthcare exchange refers to these people as "Young Invincibles" because of numerous research reportedly showing younger people believe they don't need health insurance because, well, they're young and healthy. The release goes on to say:
"Young adults ages 18 to 34—sometimes referred to as “young invincibles”—are a key audience for Washington Healthplanfinder and this program is part of an integrated outreach effort targeting this age group." (Bold lettering added for emphasis).
The reason they are a "key audience" is because nationwide, millions of them are needed to enroll so their money will help offset the people who are or will be receiving virtually free Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act. One of the biggest debates in the early stages of the battle over Obamacare was the negative feedback from young people about potentially being "forced" to buy health insurance they didn't want.
While at face value it's an impressive undertaking, upon further review this represents the most shameless attempt to "bribe" younger people into signing up for Obamacare! Like many other governmental actions, it's another "end-around" ploy to get people to comply with something they have said (by public opinion poll after poll) they don't want.
As of this writing, we cannot confirm if taxpayer dollars were directly or indirectly used to help create this promotion. We have reached out to Healthcare exchange officials for a direct answer, and will update when we receive word.
Thursday, Newstalk 870 received information from Bethany Frey, a Media Relations Contact at the Washington Healthcare Exchange. It contained the following information about whether tax dollars were directly used for this program:
'we are fully funded by federal grants through the end of 2014, along with all other state-based exchanges. State taxes are not being used."
According to 2012 data from governing.com, Washington state received a $150 million dollar grant from the Federal Government to help establish Washington Healthplan Finder. Initially, and this is reflected by the information on their map graph, Washington opposed the Affordable Care Act as then Attorney General Rob McKenna joined the lawsuit against Obamacare. That was the suit that made it's way to the Supreme Court and then the plan was eventually ruled "legal" with help of the deciding vote of Justice John Roberts.
According to The Daily Caller, as of last November, the feds had shelled out some $4.4 billion dollars to states. Americans for Tax Reform, or ATR, said federal documents and audits showed millions of dollars unaccounted for, and listed some of the dubious uses of that money. The Daily Caller reported: