Tuesday, June 25, 2013

HHS eCards: Lose Weight, Quit Smoking, Stop Bullying

    As the full implementation of ObamaCare draws nearer, the federal government is pulling out all the stops.  Although the president has often professed a "laser-like" focus on creating jobs, much of the attention of the government seems to be centered not on the economic health of the country, but rather the literal health of its citizens. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website Healthfinder.gov even has a selection of over 100 eCards that can be sent to friends and family to encourage them to lose weight, quit smoking, get screened for various diseases, and even stop bullying.

    Some of the eCards are rather less than subtle.  For instance, one invites the recipient to "make a promise to eat well and move more."

    In case the reader is slow on the uptake, the next page removes all doubt about what the sender has in mind:

    HHS even offered a Father's Day card that went beyond the usual praise and admiration reserved for fathers on their special day and exhorted dads everywhere to "skip the salt" and "take the stairs instead of the elevator."

    Apparently nothing says "Happy Father's Day" like one's child sounding like one's mother.

    The cards do not stop at physical health, either.  There is an anti-bullying card that asks "What's the difference between teasing and bullying?  If we’re not sure, our kids probably aren’t either. Let’s talk about bullying – because all kids deserve a happy, safe childhood."

    It remains unclear from the card if the accompanying photo (above) is intended to represent teasing or bullying.
    To maximize the impact of the cards, the site helpfully informs visitors that they may "send these cards to a friend or loved one by returning to the previous page and entering up to ten (10) recipient names and email addresses."  This feature, however, produces some unlikely scenarios, such as simultaneously congratulating ten friends on recently announced pregnancies.  For some occasions, there's just no substitute for a hand-written note.

Note: A version of this article appeared first at The Weekly Standard.

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