Friday, September 20, 2013

It's a scam

Jonathan Bernstein has the best explanation for that creepy gynecological anti-ObamaCare video. You can't explain it except as a scam on conservatives. Watch the ad:

It's a sure-fire candidate for a viral video. It's got a ton of stuff that would lead to viralness (virility?): It's creepy, but tongue-in-cheek. It's about women's sexual organs. It's a clear twist on the Democrat's war on women and those state laws requiring a vaginal ultra-sound. Let's fact it, it seems designed to push a bunch of buttons and outrage liberal groups. So then the video will get passed around the internet with people commenting about how outrageous the ad is. Conservatives are sure to notice that reaction, so they will conclude that the video pisses off liberals, which they will assume means that they are effective. So then some of those conservatives will send a check to Generation Opportunity, the mysterious group that produced the ad and is behind the "opt out" campaign.

So it works really well as a scam on conservatives. What it doesn't work as is a campaign against the Affordable Care Act. The patient in the video has "signed up for ObamaCare" except there is no insurance policy called "ObamaCare." By advocating that people "opt out of ObamaCare" after telling them that there is an insurance policy called "ObamaCare," the video is giving the viewer the wrong information needed to actually opt out.

For example, let's imagine a viewer sees the video and is totally sold by its message. When the Affordable Care Act goes into effect, she may go and buy a policy through the health insurance exchange that covers her state. If her income is low enough, maybe she will qualify for a tax break that subsidizes the amount she pays. The policy isn't called "ObamaCare" or "Government Insurance", it's called "Blue Cross/Blue Shield" or some other private health insurance company. And under the policy she gets to go to a private doctor, not a government worker. I can imagine her telling her friends "I didn't get ObamaCare, I bought my own private insurance policy on the exchange and got a tax credit that covered most of the costs too! Thank God, I didn't end up with government health care!!!"

Except she didn't opt out of ObamaCare at all. Buying a private insurance policy from the exchanges are what the Affordable Care Act is all about. Because the ads mislead the viewers about the nature of ObamaCare, they can't possibly be intended to actually get people to opt out of getting health insurance offered under the ACA.

As a strategy to undermine the ACA, the ads make no sense. As a strategy to make it seem like Generation Opportunity is effectively fighting the implementation of ObamaCare to get conservatives to send it money, it makes perfect sense.

(post expanded from a comment left here)