The battle over health care reform took to the web Tuesday, as comedian Will Ferrell and a group of other Hollywood stars released a sarcastic video mocking health insurance executives and pitching the need for a publicly-run health insurance option.
“Humor can serve as a powerful reminder to Americans about what exactly is at stake” Justin Ruben, executive director of MoveOn.org, said in a statement.
Tongue in cheek
The video opens with Jon Hamm, star of TV’s "Mad Men,” saying, “Something terrible is happening.” Ferrell explains the terrible thing is that “health insurance executives are getting a bum rap.” Stars including Olivia Wilde of "House," Masi Oka of "Heroes," Donald Faison of "Scrubs," and Linda Cardellini of "ER," offer the tongue in check admonition that "we need to remember who the real victims are – health insurance executives.”
Ferrell sarcastically asks, “So why is Obama trying to reform health care when insurance companies are doing just fine making millions of dollars of profit?”
The video continues with an actor saying, “Insurance companies need our support because they keep our selfish priorities in check when we can’t.”
And Ferrell returns to the screen to say, “Insurance companies are detailed enough to reject claims for things like typos. If you spell something wrong, do you really deserve surgery? I don’t think so.”
Pitching the public option
The video closes with a slide urging viewers to “Call Congress: tell them we need a strong public health insurance option.”
The video hit the web on the same day the Senate Finance Committee began hearings on Chairman Max Baucus (D) of Montana’s draft health care reform legislation. The so-called chairman’s mark dos not include the public health insurance option Ferrell and his colleagues are pushing.
But Baucus did announce Tuesday several new measures to make health insurance more affordable for working families, including increased subsidies for lower income families, limits on additional charges insurance companies can impose on older workers, and lower penalties on those who defy rules requiring them to buy insurance.
Republicans attacked the plan, with Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., saying the legislation was a “stunning assault on our liberty.” He cited several provisions to strengthen the government’s role in health care.