March 2015
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Monday, March 2, 2015

State News: Laughter the Best Medicine for the Health Care Debate?

Summer’s Hot Issue Spotlighted in State Fair Parade Saturday

For a completely different approach to the health care debate — and a few chuckles — head to the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo this weekend.

A coalition of Colorado groups has been using humor to make the case for health care reform. Rob Duray, a field director for the group New Era Colorado, says the group plans to participate in the fair’s parade Saturday with a bus full of people dressed like doctors, part of a tongue-in-cheek campaign New Era calls “Fake Doctors for Real Reform.”

“Dressing up like doctors — not being aggressive, but saying, ‘Hey, look, this is an issue we should talk about, and let’s have fun while we’re doing it,’ has given us a good response from both sides of the debate,” Duray says.

Hillary Jorgensen will also be marching in the parade, as director of the coalition Colorado Health Care for America Now. While this weekend is all about fun, she says, the group’s message when it comes to health care reform remains the same.

“We need reform that gives everyone access to quality affordable care, and we need it now,” she said.

This weekend’s activities are part of a larger national movement among reform supporters to inject a little lightheartedness into what has become the most contentious issue of the summer. In a “Daily Show”-style parody on YouTube, staff at the fictional group “Healthy Americans Against Reforming Medicine” considers possible messages for a new campaign. An excerpt of the dialogue:

MAN 1: “How can we make Americans not want to be healthy?”
MAN 2: “Let’s just make something up! Let’s just tell them the government is going to take away their choices.”
WOMAN 1: “Control their lives.”
MAN 1: “Control their deaths.”

The video was produced by the labor organization, Service Employees International Union (SEIU). It’s online at

Of course, opposition protesters are also expected to have a presence at the State Fair, showing their concern that more government involvement in health care could be too expensive and inefficient.

By using humor, Duray hopes they can persuade younger adults to become better informed and more engaged in the health care debate. Half of Americans between ages 18 and 24 were uninsured at some point last year, he explains, and 65 percent of the uninsured population is under age 35.

— Colorado News Connection

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