I actually couldn't believe it when I read on one of my regular blogs that health insurance was being promoted with lines like these:
- "OMG He's hot, let's hope he is as easy to get as this birth control. Now all I got to worry about is getting him between the covers."
- "Not sure how I ended up here perched on top of this keg I could totally fall, but that's OK my budget will stay balanced even if I don't because I got insurance."
There are some obvious problems here - but not, actually, any obvious solutions.
Because of our public health system we are perhaps blind to the trade-off between maximum coverage and moral hazard. So we will need to have a new example. What about if the government insisted that your car insurer had to offer cover to everyone - but insurers could not load the premium of, say, boy racers. Then they ran adverts encouraging folks that like to do burnouts and drag races to buy coverage. You could expect an increase in premiums in the near future - and that might make you a little unhappy about it all.
On the other hand, I know that a good society is built on second chances. Recovery from injury or illness is faster if you get treated sooner. Prevention (such as birth control) can be better than abortions or the inadequate parenting of those too young or too ill-equipped to manage. We have all done stupid things from time to time, and I want everyone to be able to get treatment.
So I guess the problem with these adverts is how deliberately careless they are. Positively encouraging the approach that being careless is okay, because you have insurance. Yet at the same time as a salesperson myself I know that you have to appeal to people as they are, not as you would like them to be. Besides, we were all young once, and a key objective of the Obamacare reforms is to get more young people insured. If that takes highlighting the coverage for accidents and a lack of responsibility, then maybe, but only maybe, it will be worth it.