It seemed like a harmless enough tweet when it showed up on my Twitter timeline yesterday. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wanted her followers to know:
Good news: 1.46 million people have been found eligible for Medicaid and CHIP in the 1st month of open enrollment.
(In case you are wondering, CHIP is the Children's Health Insurance Program--an extension of Medicaid.)
I'm sure that what the HHS Secretary is wanting to "celebrate" is that nearly 1.5 million people will be getting some form of health insurance coverage at the start of the new year. But what Ms Sebelius is forgetting in calling this "Good news" is the underlying situation that forced these people to require Medicaid or CHIP coverage in the first place.
How would it look if the tweet went like this?
Good news: 1.46 million adults and children are too poor to buy their own health insurance.
Wouldn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and bring a smile to your face knowing that many people were facing that type of situation? Would this tweet make you feel any better:
Good news: 1.46 million people lost jobs that provided them with health insurance.
Woo Hoo, Madame Secretary! That really is worth celebrating! And where is the tweet announcing the other option for providing people with health insurance coverage--which doesn't seem to be as high a priority in the Obama Administration:
Good news: 1.46 million people found employment that provides them with health insurance last month.
We won't see that tweet from anybody in the White House anytime soon because A) This economy will never produce that kind of job growth and B) The Obama Administration measures its success by the number of additional people that it can put onto government assistance. When you think about it, we should really be getting a bunch of "good news" tweets on a regular basis:
Good news: A new record number of people are on Food Stamps--47 million!
Good news: Fewer Americans are working--just 63.8%--the lowest since 1978!
Good news: The poverty rate didn't go down this year--still 50-million people!
I guess that in an era where success is vilified and that which is earned by a few should be "shared" with the rest--we should expect such celebration of failure.