Ads Hide Obamacare Truth: It's Generational Theft

Get a clue, bro. New spots targeting millenials disguise the health insurance plan's real impact

  • Progress Now Colorado

    Is massive stupidity covered under Obamacare? What about sexual promiscuity and heavy drinking? Those are some of the questions raised by a controversial ad campaign that aims to encourage younger Americans to sign up for health-insurance plans created by the Affordable Care Act.

    But there's a deeper issue that the new "Got Insurance?" campaign ignores completely: Why should young and relatively poor people be forced to sign up for insurance that charges them above-market rates to subsidize rates for old and relatively wealthy people?

    In this sense, Obamacare is simply the latest instance of generational theft being perpetrated against younger Americans. It's a feature and not a bug of the President's signature health care law that insurance premiums for those under 30 are likely to increase significantly to allow premiums for older Americans to fall. Indeed, the whole plan hinges on getting 2.7 million whippersnappers out of a total of 7 million enrollees to sign up in the individual market during the first year. If too many older and sicker folks flood the market, the system will crash even faster than the website.

    The ad campaign, which plays off the popular "Got Milk?" ads, is not the work of the Obama Administration. It is the brainchild of two nonprofits, ProgressNow Colorado Education and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. In one of the scenarios depicted, three college-age frat-boy types (a.k.a. bros) are about to chug a huge amount of beer. The text reads, "Brosurance: Keg stands are crazy. Not having health insurance is crazier." [1]

    Another shows a young woman wryly flashing a pack of oral contraceptives while a stubbled hunk smiles in anticipation of a hookup. "Let's Get Physical," reads the text. "OMG! He's hot. Let's hope he's as easy to get as this birth control." [2] A third shows a child using what appears to be a machete to slice into a pumpkin. "Trick or Treat It," explains this one. "He set out to carve the pumpkin. He ended up carving himself." [3] The nonprofits have said they want to attract attention and inject a bit of humor into educating young people.

    They've certainly attracted attention. Rolled out in late October, the ads have exploded on Twitter in recent days, and they directed so much traffic to that the site became even more popular than it was grammatically challenged, regularly displaying a "bandwidth limit exceeded" error message.

    Whether the ads are funny--or just sort of insulting to young people and taxpayers subsidizing Obamacare--is a matter of opinion. Wags on Twitter, for instance, quickly retitled the "Let's Get Physical" ad "Hosurance," a term that became a trending hashtag for a little while.

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