The spot opens on a bank of security monitors, no doubt surveillance equipment installed for your protection. Maniacal bassoons and menacing strings underscore the action (as they always do in clinical settings) in what feels like an homage to Brian DePalma (certainly the music is reminiscent of Gounod's Funeral March used for the opening of Alfred Hitchcock Presents). The story unfolds as the camera pushes into the center screen, where a nurse practitioner chit-chats with a young girl whose about to go in for her first gynecological exam. Given the age of the girl, if this is her first visit, her parents should be arrested for neglect. The patient puts her feet in the stirrups and the doctor declares, "Okay, let's have a look." She then walks out of the exam room and is replaced by the watchful eyes of a macabre, permanently and perversely smiling Uncle Sam, rising from the hoo-ha region. Legs squirm as creepy ol' Uncle Sam Bam Thank You Ma'am raises the Medieval torture device, commonly known as a speculum. One wonders, when Uncle Sam squeezes the speculum open (a clause I thought I'd never write -- ever), does it indicate the widening influence of government invasion into our privacy or is it a sick and twisted metaphor for the pain and discomfort of government interference? The message of the ad, if not clear metaphorically or visually, is title carded out: Don't let government play doctor. Opt out of ObamaCare. To be fair, there's a male corollary in this campaign, too: the dreaded proctology exam, conducted by Who's Your Uncle? Wow, this commercial insinuates, the government has their literal hand in every facet of your life. And your facet is about to be explored. Will the IRS get the test results? Let's hope so; now bend over. Uncle Sam snaps the iconic surgical glove onto his enormous hand: do you feel the pain of ObamaCare yet? Wait just a moment...now cough.
The spots target the post-college crowd, deliberately an effort to undermine the core objectives of the not-so Affordable Care Act, which is supposed to be fiscal neutral by shifting dollars from healthy young Americans who participate in the program and trafficking the dollars to the elderly and sickly older Americans, who are living way beyond the expectations of Social Security and MediCare provisions. The strategy is that if the Yuppies don't opt-in, everyone will have to opt-out of ObamaCare because there won't be sufficient dollars to fund the program. Because of its edgy take on the argument, the ads have entered the provocative Zeitgeist. It's been tweeted, walled on FaceBook and shown in mass markets that matter. It's getting free airplay on network news programs and cable news stations because it has viral velocity.
The trajectory of the ad has been extremely effective, even when it's nuanced with being associated with the nebulously notorious Koch Brothers, the ubiquitous tea partying billionaire industrialists, who despite their philanthropy to medical research, at-risk kids, and tremendous support of art and cultural projects, are pigeoned by the politico-machine of the left as evil incarnate. The bottom line, though, is that Millennials are operating principally within the perspective of the advertisement, sans the convoluted context of who's funding it. They are more likely, however, to see the robust rallying ads from the administration, which dropped over $37 million dollars to promote adoption of ObamaCare in California alone. $130 million additional TV and online ad buys is being spent by the progressive California Endowment organization. All in all, within the year, California will see $300 million dollars dedicated to promote ObamaCare. Skepticism abounds, no doubt, about both these pro and con campaigns. But the truth is...there's more postulating going on in this demographic group about whether Disney is going to destroy the Star Wars franchise.
Nationwide, taxpayers will seed the pro-ObamaCare ads to the tune of $684 million dollars, to be blitzed out by the 4th quarter of 2013. The bloated big-bellied cankerous Koch Brothers will be spending a "staggering" $750,000 for their ad campaign, produced by the conservative group, Generation Opportunity. To counter such an "enormous" ad buy, taxpayers are shelling out another $54 million dollars allocated for Healthcare Navigators, who are already going door-to-door in some neighborhoods (now that's real grassroots marketing) to introduce people properly to the salvation of government-mandated health coverage. Maybe the HHS should've contracted with Welcome Wagon. Be careful to make the distinction -- the government is not mandating healthcare -- just health coverage. You get to pick your own plan -- or keep the one you're in, as long as you're working full time and your employer still offers it. It's all good, right? As the President said, "Insurance companies can't drop people for bad reasons." Is it a bad reason when Aetna, one of the largest healthcare insurance providers, decides to quit out of the entire state of California? Because that's what happened in the Golden State. Aetna said, in essence, we quit. Ain't no laws ag'in' quittin'. For 50,000 Californians who had private Aetna coverage, they won't be keeping their plan, through no choice or fault of their own. They were, it seems, dropped for a bad reason.
But it's all good -- well, good enough for taxpayers, but not good enough for bureaucrats and certain special interest groups, major corporations, Congress, the Supreme Court, and all those entities with crony exemptions from ObamaCare. Fueling the effort for this self-proclaimed train wreck waiting to happen, described as such by one of the bill's authors, Senator Max Baucus, the opt-in ads play as pure parody, like the one that's running in Oregon. The ad touts the gentle musical stylings of Portland local singer-songwriter, Laura Gibson, set in a quaint Oregonian field as innocent scenery parades by and progresses the messaging of the song. If you weren't told it was a real ad, you'd swear it was a satirical segment of Portlandia. A message posted on the YouTube channel, Cover Oregon, poses the pregnant question, "how about you give us some fucking jobs so we can pay for our own healthcare?"
As it appears to be turning out in poll after poll, our young graduates who have been fortunate enough to enter the workforce are stating that it will be more affordable for them to pay the penalty for not participating in a health plan than to shell out the hundreds of bucks per month to opt-in. All the money being spent on both sides of the debate might be better spent if it were redistributed to our young, brave new taxpayers. Seed them with capital to open their own businesses -- breed entrepreneurism. That seems to make a lot more sense -- invest in the youth of America. With taxpayers' money. What a crazy idea! Aggregated in one year's time, one billion dollars will be thrown in to these ad campaigns to either encourage adoption of the program or fight it so the train does wreck. That's money that could pay down student loan debt -- or be given directly to graduates so that they don't search for jobs -- they become business owners. The great irony is that neither ad campaign will ultimately make or break ObamaCare. The plan itself, once implemented, is showing evidence already -- after three years of implementation -- that it's a house of cards. And if our young workers don't want to play to pay, the house of cards comes tumbling down -- the full deck, discarded. But in the meantime, ad agencies are makin' some bucks! And no one cares about the insurance companies. Aw, they'll be just fine.
It's an Orwellian world, though, where one dare not try to enact anything that bears resemblance to logic or sensibility. People assume that the Affordable Care Act is about providing healthcare to the masses. But the Affordable Care Act, it turns out, is the ultimate Orwellian bastardization of terms: it is as much about affordable healthcare as the Patriot Act was about patriotism. Indeed, the debate will go on for decades, just as the debate about the inviability and unsustainable nature of Social Security has gone on for generations. Whether it's a folk singer strumming about the merits of a Covered Oregon or a Burger King-looking Uncle Sam, one thing is certain: government by its very nature never gets smaller or less influential in our lives. Remember, when it comes to government, it's stars and stripes forever!
Check out the trippy, far-out Beatlesque pro ObamaCare ad for Covered Oregon!
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