- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Illinois is partnering with the well-known satire site, The Onion, to use comedy to let the insured know about Obamacare enrollment and bolster participation.

The state has agreed to pay the Chicago-based Onion Inc. $150,000 for $300,000 worth of online advertisements, as well as a video, an editorial and a special section on the publication’s website that will showcase the message Get Covered Illinois, said Get Covered Illinois spokesman Mike Claffey, in the Chicago Tribune.

The group — the official outreach organization for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare — is hoping comedy will convince the 18-34 crowd to jump into the enrollment act. The vision is that The Onion will draw interest to Obamacare by blasting headlines such as “Recently Insured Man Can’t Wait to Get out There, Start Seriously Injuring Himself,” or “Man Without Health Insurance is Forced to Sell Action Figures to Pay Medical Bills,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Onion, through its Onion Labs creative agency, is contracted to build and showcase the Obamacare content through March 31 — the deadline to enroll in Obamacare.

“Humor is the great equalizer,” said Kelly Leonard, executive vice president at The Second City, a Chicago satire facility, in the report. “It’s a great way to deal with difficult and taboo subjects. I think it’s brave and potentially will be quite effective. Funny works.”

Illinois officials are scrambling to sign up participants in Obamacare, especially those of younger ages whose contributions are necessary to keep health insurance costs affordable for all, as promised by politicos who supported the federal mandate.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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