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By Gina Channell Wilcox

A Thanksgiving recipe for disaster

Uploaded: Nov 27, 2013

Howdy from Tennessee, where I'm visiting family for Thanksgiving. I have my parents, my daughter and just about all my aunts, uncles, cousins and long-time family friends together in one place, and we are having a blast catching up. And I am trying to relax.
Part of my relaxation is playing games on my iPad. Some require brain power – like Words with Friends and Flow Free – and I can justify my time playing because I am improving my vocabulary, spelling and critical thinking skills. Others, though, are total mind candy – like Candy Crush.

While crushing some candy this morning, and losing yet again, an ad popped up – which is normal – but it's not for Zillow or a new movie like I'm used to. It's asking people to vote for their favorite video out of about a dozen videos to convince young people to sign up for health insurance. This contest, with a first-place prize of $30,000, was co-sponsored by the Obama Administration, the Department of Human Services and the Young Invincibles, a non-profit organization that represents Americans between the ages of 18 and 34.

I admit I was irritated because I had been pulled back from relaxation to reality. While I understand that the Candy Crush crowd might be the target market, I didn't want that dose of what I consider propaganda - and probably very expensive propaganda paid for by taxpayers. Regardless of whether you are for or against Obamacare, we should all be concerned about how our tax dollars are spent and I can think of much better ways to spend it. I understand we need the young people to sign up for the program to pay for the older, less healthy people, and that they need to know about the program. But they do know, and instead of trying to convince them that it's wonderful – and paying a lot to do that – let the program stand on its own.

Then I found out that there is also some sort of mail campaign in which the White House has mailed some people a "how-to guide" on how to talk to family about Obamacare at the Thanksgiving dinner table when family and friends "look to you as a voice of reason." So exactly how much did this campaign cost? Again I say, whether you are for or against Obamacare, do we want tax dollars going toward marketing as opposed to, say, fixing the Exchange website or launching the small business site that has now been postponed for a year?

But beyond that, answer me this: What are the two topics you don't discuss at gatherings? If this topic comes up during Thanksgiving dinner in Tennessee with my extended family, I will be the first to derail it. It would be detrimental to our emotional health, but I understand that's covered under the Affordable Care Act.

If the topic of propaganda comes up, though, I make no promises.

Happy Thanksgiving!