Richard Simmons, California Obamacare Salesperson

To put this in perspective, California’s public debt is $24.9 billion. It owes $330 billion in unfunded liabilities. Its Obamacare exchange, known as Covered California, is expected to show a $78 million shortfall next fiscal year.

But the government still spent $1.37 million on a six-hour “infomercial” that was shown live online. Here’s a snip.

Breitbart reports:

California Republican State Sen. Ted Gaines sent Peter Lee, California’s Obamacare exchange director, a blistering letter demanding answers about the Jan. 16th web stream.

“On first review, this long advertisement seems a wasteful, unserious and insulting effort, especially when viewed against the backdrop of at least a million Californians having their health coverage … (canceled),” wrote Gaines. “I question whether this is the time to pour tax dollars into what appears to be an ineffective and embarrassing quarter-day long marketing effort.” 

Last year, California’s Obamacare exchange spent $74.2 million in taxpayer money on public relations in hopes of herding more Californians into the government health exchanges. Covered California says that neither Simmons nor other celebrities featured during the six-hour program received compensation. Still, Gaines says Obamacare’s public relations efforts have been abysmal. 

“About 900,000 people in California had coverage canceled and were forced to go into the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “They are paying an extra 200, 300, 400 bucks a month. More people are cancelled than actually have insurance through Covered California. Then we see these stupid commercials using taxpayer money and not even focused on the right demographic.” 

I’m glad to hear that Simmons did not line his pockets from the boondoggle, but it was still a lot of money to throw around. Of course, whenever you have the state involved in the production of anything, you will find state functionaries making increasingly bizarre decisions. Unlike in the private sector, they can’t look at a profit and loss statement and measure whether or not a spending decision was a wise investment or a mistake. Invariably, their decisions get more and more divorced from reality.

I could feel sorry for these people if they weren’t constantly pretending that they are omnicompetent—and far superior to mere doctors and patients interacting freely by voluntary exchange.