Wednesday, May 25, 2011

VIDEO REVIEW. Perhaps spooked by the impending Republican defeat in NY-26, Paul Ryan put together an anti-Mediscare video which the brethren are now rushing out. "Another nifty floating charts video," raves Andrew Stiles at National Review and no, he's not kidding. "I think the GOP needs to get this video out there prominently," says QandO.

The laughs comes early when we are told "Washington has not been honest with you" by Ryan, who has been in Congress since 1999 and has only recently become Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. But never mind. His jacket's off and his sleeves semi-loosened. He means business!

Though the music is properly swirly-sinister in the first part and on-hold-music-optimistic in the second, I must say Ryan misses some opportunities with his iconography:

A little "Patient" figurine receives caduceuses ("health care services") from a hospital ("Provider"), which sends little blue bills to a Federal building ("Medicare"), which sends little blue dollars to the Provider. "Medicare reimburses the doctor with your tax dollars and borrowed money, no questions asked," explains Ryan, and several figurines labeled "Taxpayers" are shown to feed Medicare with their own blue dollars. Thus, "the patient is very disconnected from the cost."

Medicare recipients and would-be recipients probably like this arrangement just fine and hope that, despite the ongoing Depression, it can be sustained long enough that they won't have to die of peritonitis in an unheated rooming house. Couldn't the Medicare building have been made into a house of horrors, with lightning bolts and Joe Stalin climbing on the roof like King Kong? Also, while it's good that the "panel of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats" Obama wants to "set the price" are all RED, couldn't they also have big cigars and perhaps dookie ropes that say PLAYA? (It's nice that, at the end, the bureaucrats sprout briefcases, but these should spring open to reveal taxpayer dollars, condoms, and hypodermic needles.)

Also, when Ryan tells us that under the Obama plan "many doctors will stop seeing Medicare patients altogether," which will lead to "waiting lists and denied care," and the figurines multiply to reflect this, couldn't they be shown lying in their own filth on cheap gurneys labeled "PROPERTY OF UNITED STATES OF SOCIALIST REPUBLICS"?

Some segments need only a gentle tweak. In the Path to Prosperity section, the red "bureaucrat panel" is swept away and the patient figurine grows large, dwarfing the Medicare building; this should please Tea Party patriots. As Ryan explains that Path to P "provides financial support" (i.e. coupons) to recipients, a moving dotted line issues from the full-grown patient toward Medicare; a small adjustment would make this more obviously a stream of urine, expressing the patient's contempt for Big Government.

I would also suggest Ryan remove phrases like "best care at the lowest cost" and "the high quality we expect at a price we can afford," which sound like advertising grifts for a cut-rate product. Also, while "freedom of choice" is a tested marketing concept, the hospital icons do not alter appreciably after the Path to Prosperity transformation; maybe they should be brightly and distinctively colored, and have water slides and other attractive add-ons.

I like the distinct choice at the end: "A government monopoly and a panel of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C." versus "You." Except the voter looking forward to his end-of-life care probably doesn't like to imagine himself all alone. I realize this conflicts somewhat with the libertarian dream of total autonomy; perhaps some imagery can be devised that suggests the company of other rationally self-interested people who will be in the same boat as You, but will refrain from offering You any demeaning help. Maybe the cast of "Seinfeld"?

Final note: Lose the bit about getting the same kind of care members of Congress get. No one believes that.

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