Slightly under a quarter of the 2.2 million Obamacare enrollees are between 18 and 34. More than half are between 45 and 64. One needn’t be a doctor, or a mathematician, to grasp the negative implications for rates within the insurance exchanges.
“If you want young people to sign up maybe you shouldn’t have made the law so that you can stay on your parents’ plan until you turn 26,” joked Jimmy Kimmel. The late-night host played a skit featuring a near-retirement couple listing their various medications. “But fortunately,” Martha explains, “we don’t have to pay for it.” “You do,” Alex tells the viewers. His wife matter-of-factly reports, “You young people are paying for our drugs and our doctors.”
There’s truth in comedy. An Affordable Care Act that infantilizes adults by enabling them to remain on their parents’ plans as though still children further infantilizes them in its marketing. The president banks on the stupidity of young people, the constituency that, save for African Americans, he most owes his power to. Why would “Julia” and “Pajama Boy” enroll in Obamacare for benevolent reasons? People sign up for government programs for subsidies, not to subsidize.
This reality has prompted a governmental disinformation campaign unrivaled in American history. Thankfully, the marketing, like the website, appears as the handiwork of government incompetents the likes of which even the most cynical Tea Partier couldn’t dream up.
Pajama Boy projected the administration’s image of its ideal male — castrated, dependent, weak, a beta-being so unthreatening as to be ideally suited to lead into Rachel Maddow on primetime. That image — diametrically at odds with the one employed to recruit young men to fight the nation’s wars — thankfully spoke to few possessing the XY chromosomes.
The inability to convince young Americans to bankroll older, wealthier Americans through Obamacare as they already do through Social Security has set the administration and its boosters into panic mode. Obamacare isn’t getting young people in part because Obama doesn’t get young people. Most 52-year-old men don’t.
Enlisting Magic Johnson, a grandfather whose initial NBA retirement occurred before the births of most of the graduating members of the college class of ’14, to implore young people to sign up for Obamacare exemplifies this. “Young people think they’re Superman, like nothing’s ever going to happen to them,” the Hall of Famer observed in a YouTube clip. “But, trust me: someday something’s going to happen. And you’re going to need a quality health plan. So, make sure you get Obamacare.”
But when young people think “Obamacare” they don’t think “quality health plan.” They think intergenerational scam.
If generation iPhone doesn’t identify with the NBA star last seen on the court wearing tall socks and short shorts, then the administration might next try Bob Cousy or the Big O to reach the kids. Magic’s message merely proved the administration chronologically confused. Other gimmicks insult the target audience. The administration’s acolytes in Colorado, for instance, imagine young men as imbeciles and young women as sluts.
“OMG, he’s hot! Let’s hope he’s as easy to get as this birth control,” explains a woman in a government advert for Obamacare that inadvertently doubles as a public service announcement regarding herpes. “My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers.” “Keg stands are crazy,” explains an ad that touts “Brosurance.” “Not having health insurance is crazier.” The graphic depicts three morons doing their best impersonation of the Alpha Betas from Revenge of the Nerds.
The propaganda, in the style of a Chris Christie Hurricane Sandy television spot, issues a “thanks obamacare” shout out to the great leader. How ungrateful 73 million millennials are for not saying a “thanks obamacare” by signing up.
The ’80s-ish garb donned by the “Bros for Life” depicted in the surreally stupid ad indicate, like Magic’s failed assist, that older people, who stand to benefit from the participation of younger people in Obamacare, came up with the campaign. They’re about as fluent in the lingo of youth as Joe Friday on late-sixties-era Dragnet, only they don’t know it.
The Obamacare salesmen relate to twentysomethings as caricatures, not real people. The ads reflect this visually in the manner that the actual program does economically. The administration expected an entire demographic to act against its interests.
Cartoons and imaginary friends may do this. Flesh-and-blood people rarely do.