|Another basic right falls |
victim to Obamacare
A little known provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare,” will levy hefty penalties on perpetrators of “hoaxes, pranks, scams, and other kinds of mischief on the first of April” starting in 2014.
The Obama Administration claims the provision is necessary because “April Fool’s jokes result in thousands of emergency room admissions that drive up everyone’s health care costs.” Pranksters will receive warnings from the Office of Health Systems Supervision (OHSS) this year, but next year they could be subject to penalties of up to $1,000.
OHSS commissioner George Wellor said in a news conference that “April Fool’s jokes may seem like harmless fun, but they are not. Yes, a well-crafted joke can provide a welcome dose of levity, but many jokes are poorly executed. They can cause real distress, provoking asthma attacks, hypertension, and even cardiac arrest. Perpetrators themselves can and often do suffer grievous bodily injuries and death. Even a good joke can go bad, as when a driver doubled over with laughter lost control of his vehicle on interstate 94 starting an 18-car pile-up on April 1, 2003. Our health care system simply can’t afford to waste millions of dollars for a little fun.”
Congressional Republicans, who have been highly critical of the health reform law, are not amused. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released a statement saying, “This is just another example of how Obamacare intrudes into every aspect of our daily life. April Fool’s Day is a proud tradition and part of the fabric of America.”
Senator Al Franken (D-MN), a former comedian, thought it ironic that the famously humor-challenged McConnell would stand up for the right to play pranks. But then he reconsidered. “Hey, I’ll support my colleague from Kentucky if he says ‘April Fool!’ and admits that Republican policies for the past couple of decades have been a joke.”
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said this is one reason why health reform must be repealed. “This Administration thinks nothing of trampling on our basic freedoms. Government bureaucrats shouldn’t be deciding when it’s okay to make jokes and when it’s not. That’s why my Budget repeals Obamacare.”
To punctuate the point, Ryan renamed the House Budget “The April Fool’s Day Restoration Act of 2013.”
It is expected to come up for a vote in the House today. The Senate is not expected to take up the measure.
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[If you don’t see the humor in this, sorry. It’s an April Fool’s joke.]