Behold the worst advertisement ever created.
Starting in October, enrollment begins for the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, the new regulated market for private health insurance created by Obamacare. In other words, despite years of massive resistance from the right, Obamacare is upon us. Having failed to stop the law legislatively, through the courts, and at the ballot box, anti-Obamacare Lost Causers have moved on to attempts to sabotage the law’s implementation.
Cue the horror-clowns, possibly sexually assaulting (?) unsuspecting young people in a psychedelic nightmare dystopia.
Huh? What? Where? Why? Basically, in order for Obamacare to work, the marketplace will need healthy people, particularly young healthy people, to sign up. Chris Moody of Yahoo News reports on groups like the Koch-brothers-funded Generation Opportunity, responsible for the ad above, pouring millions into trying to convince young people to boycott the law.
If healthy folks don’t sign up, premiums will soar, and the marketplace will fall apart. So, for example, while the Arkansas Insurance Department tries to do outreach and inform people about their new healthcare options (at least until the Republican-controlled legislature strips their funding to do so), Generation Opportunity will offer up ads like the above (or another one for men featuring scary Uncle Sam about to administer a prostate exam!). The group will also, Moody reports, “host events at college football tailgate parties festivals, where ‘brand ambassadors’ (read: hot young people) will pass out beer koozies that read ‘opt out,’ pizza and literature about the health care law. Some events may have impromptu dance parties with DJ’s, complete with games of cornhole and competitions for prizes, organizers said.”
Dudes! Obamacare bad! Meanwhile FreedomWorks is encouraging young people to “burn their Obamacare cards” (which don’t actually exist) and Americans for Prosperity has an ad campaign of their own and plans to make the boycott pitch at sporting events and festivals.
Obviously, Generation Opportunity needs to hire a better marketing team; that ad is about as convincing as playing “Reefer Madness” today as a Just Say No campaign. More broadly, the boycott plan is a hard sell. For one thing, many people under the age of 26 are now, thanks to Obamacare, able to stay on their parents’ plan. For young people without insurance faced with the choice of whether to sign up, anyone making less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($46,000 for an individual, $94,000 for a family of four) will get subsidies (around 70 percent of young adults will qualify). And if they don’t get insured, they’ll pay a penalty (next year, it’s $95 or 1 percent of one’s income above $10,000, whichever is greater; that penalty increases in future years). There may be some young, healthy people that decide that even with the penalty, the Obamacare plans are not worth the price, and they’d rather take the risk that they’ll stay healthy. But they will be taking a risk: open enrollment ends in March, and folks won’t have another chance to sign up for an Obamacare plan until the following year (in future years, the deadline to sign up will come each December). The boycott campaign is encouraging people to leave themselves completely uncovered in the case of a disaster.
Now, Generation Opportunity or Americans for Prosperity could carefully explain all of that (and some young uninsured people might decide it’s in their best interest to roll the dice, as is their right!). Instead, for whatever reason, the boycott groups are taking more of a disinformation/”A Clockwork Orange” approach.
Speaking of AFP, the group today announced a $3 million ad buy for “Trisha’s story,” their latest anti-Obamacare ad that will play in Arkansas and five other states.
The AFP strategy in their recent series of ads, as we’ve documented before, is to tell a sympathetic story, and then have the protagonist announce that they have “questions” or “concerns” about Obamacare, even though the answers to those questions either have nothing to do with Obamacare, or amount to an argument for Obamacare. This one is no different. It’s sad to hear that Trisha had cancer. Thanks to Obamacare, insurance companies will no longer be able to exclude or price discriminate against her on the private market. Thanks to Obamacare, folks on the private market that get cancer won’t suddenly lose coverage if they hit an annual or lifetime dollar cap.