The latest salvo against the Affordable Care Act includes an ad featuring a young woman. She walks into a medical facility, explains that she is part of "Obamacare," and is welcomed and sent to a room to get ready for her gynecological exam. So far, so good.
Then, after we see her get onto the examination table and she is told to scooch down to the front with her feet in stirrups, the nurse leaves. In enters a cartoon man, dressed as Uncle Sam, who proceeds to look in the direction of the woman's vagina. "Opt out" of Obamacare, the ad warns, or the government will be looking into your vagina as well.
If the ad was meant to be some hybrid attack on the National Security Agency spying operation and the Affordable Care Act, it didn't work. And if the makers of the ad are really trying to suggest that those evil Democrats are trying to invade your most private health care life, there is only one response:
Hello, kettle? It's the pot calling. You're black.
This is the work of a group called Generation Opportunity, a Virginia-based group that is trying to discourage young people from getting health insurance. Yes, that's as crazy as it sounds. Everyone, even young people who think they will never get sick, never get into an accident and basically never die, needs health insurance. And when young, healthy people don't get health insurance, it makes it more expensive for everyone else, since the pool of insureds is higher risk.
That's why Obamacare demands that everyone get insurance (and subsidies are available to low-income people). It's not fair to ask insurance companies to make concessions such as insuring even those with "pre-existing conditions," for example, unless everyone has health insurance.
The ad makes no sense even on its basic point. There is no "opting in" or out of the new law. The law requires everyone to get insurance. It's true that people don't have to use the health care exchanges to buy insurance, and it's not necessary anyway for the overwhelming majority of people who get insurance through their employers. Further, many of the young people the ad targets are eligible to stay on their parents' plans, since the law allows people to be part of those plans through age 26.
But the creepy vagina peek – are they serious? A group based in Virginia should be even more embarrassed to make such a charge, since it was in Virginia that lawmakers pushed a bill to require women to get invasive, vaginal probe ultrasounds before getting an abortion. The GOP candidate for governor in Virginia wants to ban all abortions. Candidates in other states have gone so far as to suggest that women can't get pregnant during a rape, anyway, since, they idiotically claim, a woman can't conceive if she doesn't want the sex to happen.
If opponents want to dis the Affordable Care Act, say it's bureaucratic, or confusing, or might raise costs. But invading a woman's most personal health care? Please.
The real mission of the ad is to make the law fail. Opponents couldn't kill the bill, so now, instead of seeing how it works and how it might need to be fixed, they simply want it to fail miserably. There are foes of the law who would rather that an effort that was years – many decades, really – in the making fail in the most disruptive way than to be proven wrong. Rooting for your principles is honorable. Rooting for something – or someone – to fail is distasteful. And showing Uncle Sam in full pervert mode is the most tasteless of all.
- Read Peter Roff: The Many Ways House Republicans Could Still Win on Health Care
- Read Stephanie Slade: Today's Republicans Must Refocus on Compassionate Conservatism
- Check out U.S. News Weekly, now available on iPad