John Semmens

SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News

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SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News, October 27, 2013 Edition

GOP Healthcare Bill Denounced

Senator Ron Johnson's (R-Wisc) proposed legislation, the “If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act,” was immediately denounced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) as “out of line.”

This bill would completely undermine the Affordable Care Act,” Reid charged. “It trades on the simplistic notion that individuals should be permitted to decide what kind of health insurance they need. This is flawed logic. First of all, individuals aren't qualified to assess the complex issues of health care coverage. Second, allowing people to keep plans they like would cater to the kind of selfishness that is wrecking this country.”

In defense of his bill, Senator Johnson argued that “it merely implements President Obama's promise that those who like their existing insurance would be allowed to keep it. As we're seeing millions of customers are being notified by their insurers that the Affordable Care Act requires the cancellation of 'non-conforming plans.'”

The President's promise was never intended as a 'blank check' on behalf of personal greed,” Reid countered. “Those who like their existing insurance because it gives them coverage they want at a price they can afford are overlooking the broader social obligations they must bear as a member of society. All the President is asking is that we all share the burden of subsidizing the coverage of those worse off than themselves.”

The contingent of “worse off” includes those with pre-existing conditions, those with chronic health problems brought on by obesity, substance abuse, and serving in government. As Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) explains, “the stress we face in our jobs is severe. On the one hand, lobbyists continually pressure us with temptations—free meals, free trips, campaign donations—that take a toll on our health. On the other hand, there is the constant fear that someone will perceive that we have done something wrong—taken a payoff to push legislation, cheated on our taxes—that disturbs our repose. We need and deserve a subsidy.”

While members of Congress' salary of $174,000 per year plus assorted perks puts them well above the income level below which people must fall to qualify for Obamacare subsidies, Rangel and his colleagues, by Executive Order, will receive annual subsidies of nearly $11,000 to help fund their health insurance.

In related news, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius confirmed that she would not be signing up for Obamacare, saying that “I have a better plan that I'm satisfied with and I'm going to keep it.”

Milestone in Welfare Hailed

In a bid to divert attention from the disastrous implementation of Obamacare, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius pointed to the dramatic rise in welfare recipients as “proof of the dramatic progress this Administration has made in transforming America.”

For the first time ever in United States history, the number of persons receiving means-tested welfare payments (108,592,000) exceeds the number of persons engaged in full-time employment (101,716,000).

Throughout human history the average person has been chained to toil in order to survive,” Sebelius observed. “Today, I am proud to say that the average American has been freed from this servitude. By distributing a greater share of the wealth from those who are able to produce it to those who need to consume it, the President is well on his way to establishing a new ethos for our country. Instead of serving private greed, ability, ambition, and effort are being more effectively harnessed for the benefit of all.”

To ensure that these gains aren't squandered, Sebelius urged Congress “to pass the tax increases the President has requested. Continued progress toward social justice necessitates a growing source of revenue with which to pay the growing segment of our society that has been liberated from wage-slavery.”

DNC Chair Insists Obamacare Will Be Winning Issue in 2014

Despite a tidal wave of negative news on the roll-out of the Obamacare website, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla) insists the beleaguered health insurance mandate will be a winning issue for Democrats in November 2014.

The key will be the women's votes,” Wasserman-Schultz maintained. “The free birth control benefits alone should have these voters squarely in our corner.”

If the many young women who are being compelled to pay insurance premiums far in excess of the value of the “free birth control” benefit under Obamacare would seem to cast some doubt over Wasserman-Schultz's prediction, the Congresswoman stubbornly adhered to her assessment.

The economic calculus being cited by the critics of the program overlooks the psychological aspect,” Wasserman-Schultz said. “Payments for the coverage are mandatory. Use of the services is free. On top of this, the availability of birth control through a legally mandated government program empowers women to throw off the shackles of religious and moral constraints that could impede their full enjoyment of sex.”

Sexually active young women can use the implicit endorsement of their behaviors by the federal government as a counterbalance to church or family pressures that might seek to dissuade them from living their lives as they choose,” Wasserman-Schultz continued. “I'm convinced that these liberated women will reward the Democratic Party for the new freedoms we have bestowed upon them.”

In related news, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claims that a push for higher taxes would be another winning election issue for Democrats. “The only people who feel there shouldn’t be more coming in to the federal government are the Republicans in the Congress,” Reid said in a radio interview. “I believe most voters can see that the uses to which the government can put their money would be more productive and beneficial than the frivolous ways in which they would spend it themselves if we don't tax it away from them.”

Obamacare Operator Fired

A low level employee answering phone inquiries from customers trying to purchase health insurance through an Obamacare Exchange was summarily fired for publicly affirming that the process is unpopular. The incident occurred when Erling Davis admitted to talk show personality Sean Hannity that most of the callers she has handled expressed frustration and unhappiness with the cumbersome and complicated process.

Negativity is a millstone around the neck of social progress,” said Administration adviser Valerie Jarrett. “Positive thinking is essential if we are to make the Affordable Care Act work. The accuracy or truthfulness of Ms. Davis' observations is irrelevant. Her failure to project optimism and confidence at all times could undermine the American people's belief in the President and his program for change. We had to let her go.”

Former Democratic National Committee chair and Vermont Governor Howard Dean supported Jarrett's position saying “there's this scene in Peter Pan where the mere thinking of happy thoughts enables the children to fly off to Neverland. Obviously, the importance of a positive attitude couldn't be clearer. If the President is to succeed he needs everyone to be on the same page. Negativism of the sort displayed by Ms. Davis can't be tolerated.”

Since Ms. Davis' lack of the appropriate attitude was disclosed on his radio show, Hannity has committed to paying her a year's salary ($26,000) and to assisting her in finding another job.

In related news, White House staffer Jofi Joseph was also fired for airing “unhappy thoughts” on his twitter account. Perhaps his most egregious offense was to suggest that GOP suspicions of a Benghazi whitewash might be on target.

Congressman Blames Private Sector for Obamacare Glitches

Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif) blamed the contractors hired by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department for the website failures that are bogging down the launch of Obamacare. “These private sector sharks exploited Secretary Sebelius' ignorance and sold her a bad product,” Waxman contended. “In effect they bilked her and America out of millions of dollars with a shoddy piece of merchandise.”

CGI, one of the principal contractors for the website contested Waxman's characterization. “There were numerous checkpoints every step of the way,” said CGI’s Senior Vice President Cheryl Campbell. “We have hundreds of invoices signed by various HHS personnel verifying that the work we did was fully satisfactory. They wouldn't have paid us if they thought otherwise.”

Waxman was unimpressed by CGI's offer of a paper trail in support of their position. “Everyone knows that the government staff charged with scrutinizing the work done by private contractors isn't competent to assess the quality of the product,” Waxman argued. “Blindly signing off for work that they cannot comprehend is pretty much standard practice on just about every project that is contracted out. The hope is that the contractor knows what he is doing because the government sure doesn't. I lay the blame on them.”

The Congressman suggested that the long term solution would be “to eliminate contracting with the private sector. If all the work were done in-house by government employees we wouldn't be getting cheated by outsiders.” While conceding that the likelihood of improved quality was remote, Waxman took solace that “we would certainly put an end to profiteering.”


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