Here's the latest ad against Obamacare. It involves a young woman on a medical-exam table and a creepy Uncle Sam mask. I'm not sure I can fully capture it with words, so just watch it—all the way until the end.
The ad doesn't have a lot of hits yet and I'm reluctant to give it more attention. But it comes from Generation Opportunity, which appears to be a well-funded conservative group staffed by young people and based in Virginia. According to Chris Moody, of Yahoo News, the group is about to launch a 20-college tour in which they will try to persuade young people to “opt out” of Obamacare—i.e., to pay the financial penalty for uninsurance rather than take up coverage.
Generation Opportunity intends to 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.
Fun! But back to that advertisement. It’s actually one of two. The other has the same basic format, only the patient is a young man, and instead of wielding a speculum, Uncle Sam slips on a latex glove in preparation for a prostate exam.
This is probably the part where I should talk about policy—and the fact that, thanks to Obamacare, between 25 and 30 million additional people will have health insurance. Today, many of those people would love to get medical exams but can’t, because they can’t pay the bills. I could think some more about that ad with the young woman, and the fact that, thanks to Obamacare, insurance policies must now cover an array of essential benefits—including, just for starters, maternity care. Today many insurance policies do not. I could point out that Obamacare also requires insurers to offer preventative services, like mammograms and pap smears.
As a Department of Health and Human Services brief explains:
While women are more likely to need preventive health care services, they often have less ability to pay. On average, they have lower incomes than men and a greater share of their income is consumed by out-of-pocket health costs. A report by the Commonwealth Fund found that in 2009 more than half of women delayed or avoided necessary care because of cost. Removing cost-sharing requirements lets women decide which preventive services they will use and when. In fact, one study found that the rate of women getting a mammogram went up as much as 9 percent when cost sharing was removed. In addition to saving lives by catching cancer early, mammograms can also protect families from skyrocketing medical bills that result from treating the advanced stages of the disease.
Or maybe I should point out the irony of conservatives spotlighting a gynecological exam—and insinuating that, because of Obamacare, Uncle Sam will be invading women’s privacy and personal health decisions. Isn’t this the same party and movement that believes the federal government should be in the middle of reproductive health? Aren’t these the same folks who have no hesitation about requiring that women seeking abortions first get invasive ultrasound tests?
But, really, I’m just having trouble shaking these creepy images from my mind.
Jonathan Cohn is a senior editor at the New Republic. Follow him on twitter @CitizenCohn