Let’s take a moment to remember one of the best moments of the six-hour Obamacare telethon, as Richard Simmons lovingly interpreted the process by which you register for government-sponsored health care using his trademark flexibility.
How much do you think the state of California, which is drowning in debt, paid to have Richard Simmons roll around on the set of the Mike Douglas Show at the behest of a man dressed out of a Salvation Army dollar bin? Technically, Richard Simmons did the initial appearance for free (though he probably got something out of it), but the whole six-hour mess of terrible comedy and C-list celebrity appearances cost the state of California a whopping $1.37 million dollars.
Facing a $78 million budget shortfall, California’s ObamaCare exchange has spent $1.37 million to fund an outreach video featuring exercise guru Richard Simmons gyrating on the floor and hugging a contortionist who is kneeling with his buttocks in the air.
The “Tell a Friend — Get Covered” campaign by Covered California features other celebrities Olivia Wilde, comic Billy Eirchner, Fran Drescher and Tatyana Ali. The centerpiece of the effort was an eight-hour live web stream that ran on Jan. 16.
None of the celebrities were paid for their work, Covered California said.
State Sen. Ted Gaines, a Northern California Republican, fired off a terse letter to Covered California Director Peter Lee demanding to know why he would launch such a campaign at taxpayer expense.
To be fair, the $1.37 million that California spent marketing it’s health care project is a drop in the bucket compared to how much they spent on the entire health care project, which will face a $78 million dollar shortfall. So really, paying over a million bucks to have Richard Simmons teach his first real aerobics class on a screen since the mid-1990s is a bargain compared to, say, building the project. Maybe they should have started with Richard Simmons.
[via Weasel Zippers]