Ads Against Obamacare Go Too Far


Pete Souza

Pete Souza/Official White House Photo/MCT


Pete Souza/Official White House Photo/MCT
Pete Souza/Official White House Photo/MCT

The Obamacare debate—also known as the seemingly never ending fight between the Democrats who seek to fund and preserve President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Republicans who want it gone—reached new lows last week with a recent ad campaign from General Opportunity, a Koch Brothers-funded group. The Koch brothers are the CEO and Vice President (VP) of Koch Industries, a private conglomerate who have spent millions of dollars lobbying for the causes and legislation that work to minimize the role of government.

In one of the ads, a young man tells his doctor that he saw an ad for Obamacare. After he informs his doctor that he decided to sign up for the program, the doctor immediately tells the patient to take his pants off and lay down on the operating table. The doctor then proceeds to leave the room. Suddenly, a man with an Uncle Sam mask pops up from behind the examination table and a message flashes across the screen: “Don’t let government play doctor.” Another ad, aimed at women, has essentially the same premise, but it is set during a gynecological exam.

Both ads send suggestive, misleading messages about Obamacare, when in reality, Obama’s ACA does not force doctors to ask patients about their sex lives nor does it include performing unwanted exams.

These ads try to sway young people from signing up for government health care programs, even though for many graduating college students who are still unemployed or working part time, it may be the only option. Beyond this, the imagery in both of the ads is extremely ‘rape-like’—when the Uncle Sam comes up behind the young man or appears in front of the woman, it very clearly suggests sexual assault. There is no way that anyone can compare Obamacare, even with all its flaws and shortcomings, to rape.

Honestly, it’s ridiculous to even talk about the two in the same sentence. Obamacare is an ambitious social program which aims to offer millions of Americans subsidized, affordable healthcare with good coverage. Rape is rape. Obamacare does not violate anyone.

Young people need health insurance and we can’t stay on our parents’ plans forever. Because we’re also the sector of the population with the highest unemployment rate, remaining uninsured means we constantly have to worry about how we would pay hospital bills if something were to happen. We need affordable, quality care and it’s not something we can wait for. Obamacare provides young adults with exactly this.

The plan goes into effect Oct. 1, despite opposition from very conservative and Tea Party Republicans in the House and groups like General Opportunity. Despite the failure of the House of Representatives and Senate to avert a government shutdown by midnight on Sept. 30, Obamacare is a go. Millions will now be able to find the best plan for them on the online Health Insurance Marketplace, and in 2014, the great majority of the 19 million uninsured young adults across the country will be eligible for free or reduced-cost health insurance.

Despite what the ads suggest, providing young adults with health insurance doesn’t sound like sexual assault at all. The ACA is simply providing the means for getting insurance if you don’t have a job or work for an employer that doesn’t provide it. If the government “playing doctor” means affordable plans with good coverage, then maybe it’s not such a bad idea.