New ad, intended to scare youth away from Obamacare, backfires

So there’s a new vewy scawy “Uncle Sam” Web ad that’s intended to scare young people away from signing up for Obamacare.

Sadly, whoever came up with the ad is a bit of a moron.  The ad ends up being an advertisement for young people GETTING insurance, which is exactly what Obamacare is all about.

First, some background.  You might recall the previous ad from these folks – the one where a very scary Uncle Sam figure pops up in some young college student’s gynecological exam.  The idea is that somehow, if you sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges, you’ll have “the government” involved in your health care, or something.


From the “Uncle Sam” ad.

At the time that ad came out, I did a post noting that I’d rather have Uncle Sam between my legs than John Boehner with a trans-vaginal probe. Of course, I’m still waiting for someone to do an ad about the GOP health care plan, with Lindsey Graham checking your prostate (“turn your head and couch, y’all”).


My version.

So fast forward to their new ad. Another vewy vewy scawy, this time Halloween-themed, ad to convince young people not to sign up for Obamacare. This time, some guy who looks like Freddie – no, not that Freddie, rather Freddie Mercury from Queen – keeps appearing on your TV even though the TV is unplugged.

Freddie Mercury is on the other extension, get out of the house!

Freddie Mercury is on the other extension, get out of the house!

At one point, Freddie tries to really scare the young college guy by telling him “we’ve got your cell phone and your email.”  Well, duh.  Facebook’s got their cell phone and their email too.  As do a gazillion other Web sites, and every doctor they’ve ever visited.  What kid today doesn’t assume that everyone, including the government, has his cell phone and his email?

Mama.... just cured a man.... (Sergey Goryachev /

Mama…. just cured a man….
(Sergey Goryachev /

But the best part of the video is towards the end, after Uncle Sam comes and “scares” you.  The video puts up two screens as the big finale.  Now, keep in mind that the entire point of these videos is to scare kids away from getting health insurance since having young people insured is a key component of health care reform, in part because the system needs healthy people in addition to sick people in order to be more affordable for everyone. So the intent here is to scare away young people, and thus hopefully make health care more expensive for everyone (and thus hurt the Affordable Care Act’s image, oh yeah and hurt everyone else too by making everyone pay more for their insurance).

Here’s the first screen:


And here’s the second:


“Get the insurance…” Huh?

Let’s put aside for a moment the fact that college kids are already going to end up having insurance anyway, until the age of 26, because under Obamacare they can remain on their parents’ plans.  They couldn’t before.

But far more importantly, what really caught my eye was the fact that the entire ad culminates in a message that reinforces the point that young people should get insurance, which is one of the main points behind the President’s health care reform package.

Young people often don’t get insurance, because they think they’re invincible.  So we’d welcome a message that tells kids that they really ought to get insurance.

As for young people making sure that they get the “right” insurance, well duh.  I’m all for people checking the exchanges AND talking to their insurance company, and picking what’s “right for you.”  Of course, once they go to the exchanges they may very well find out that they’ll get better insurance than they would elsewhere, but there’s another thing young people are going to like about Obamacare.  A lot of them might be eligible for subsidies that pay for part, or all, of their insurance. That won’t happen if they go to an insurance company directly.  And what kid doesn’t like a free lunch?

So thanks, Uncle Sam!  And Freddie.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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75 Responses to “New ad, intended to scare youth away from Obamacare, backfires”

  1. salina94 says:

    find out how to earn 75 usd per day at home!! visit surveymoneymaker dot net

  2. Hal Sullivan says:

    If you’re bringing home $95,000 a year and just make ends meet every month, you’re doing something wrong.

  3. Moderator3 says:

    You may want to rewrite the number for your family income. What you wrote is not a recognizable number.

  4. Stephen says:

    I need options to get out of this new health care. We are a famil of 4 who just make ends meet every month. Old Kaiser plan $575 a month. New Kaiser plan $1100/month. Insurance through Obamacare is still over $1000.00 a month. We don’t qualify for any tax breaks as we make a combined income over $95000,00 a year. There is no way I can pay another $500 a month. Need options!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. misfitsoda says:

    “Greatest country in the world!!!! Ever!!!! Don’t get sick though. Ohhhh, ha. If you do? Booooy oh boy are you fd….USA! USA! USA!”

  6. friv 2 says:

    You know how Mitch McConnell looks just like that famous cartoon turtle?
    Well I just know there is a cartoon rat out there that looks just like
    Ted Cruz.

  7. Bill_Perdue says:

    At least it’s not psychobabble.

    Obama/Romneycare is not a step forward. it’s a step backwards. It privatizes what even you claim to prefer, socialized medicine. Prove that it’s not based on corruption and bribes. Prove that it provides quality care at minimum costs. Prove that HMOs, big pharma and insurance companies are not driven by money, instead of health care.

    Accepting Obama/Romneycare is not fighting, it’s giving in.

  8. heimaey says:

    Wrong. That’s like saying you’ll only treat cancer if you will be guaranteed 100% to live. You fight the battles you need to and you enjoy the little victories and then get back out there and fight again.

  9. Bill_Perdue says:

    Psychobabble, in the absence of at least an attempt to justify the corruption that led to Obama/Romneycare, and to it’s imposition of a for-profit and inadequate heath care plan, is all you’ve got.

    Disappointing, but very Democrat.

  10. heimaey says:

    You just can’t find the joy in anything can you?

  11. Bill_Perdue says:

    Anything short of what we need is a step in the wrong direction, in this
    case, the direction of making medical care for profit and against health

  12. heimaey says:

    Well yeah, I have to agree with you there about socialized medicine (which I’d prefer). Although I do think this is a step in the right direction.

  13. Bill_Perdue says:

    Obamacare, another Republican program, is a Democrat fraud. The same was true of NAFTA. DOMA and the deregulation bills of 1999 and 2000. What Repbulicans can’t do for the rich. Democrats can and will.

    ObamRomcare is meant to make insurance companies richer and health care for working people poorer. Socialists support the only real solution to the health care crisis – socialized medicine.

  14. Sphyg says:

    I think it’s supposed to invoke Snidley Whiplash. The GOP only uses the most timely of cultural references.

  15. rmthunter says:

    You just answered your own question — “college graduation.” And maybe grad school. And then finding a job — they’re fairly scarce these days. If you’re lucky, by 26 you *might* be independent and self-supporting, and maybe you can even afford insurance premiums from a profit-driven insurance company if your job doesn’t provide insurance. But don’t hold count on it. Not these days.

  16. Nothing new. That ad has been in circulation for weeks. No backfire, that’s just the sound of your agenda augering in.

    Of course young people should get insurance, but they shouldn’t bear the burden that 0care expects them to bear. Obamacare failures are more proof the federal government should –for the most part– stay out of our lives. There are proper functions of the state, but mandating that citizens purchase health care is not one of them. That’s just bullying its citizens.

  17. HelenRainier says:

    Freddie Krueger?

  18. HelenRainier says:

    OMG, these are great. I’d noticed the resemblance between Eddie Munster and Paul Ryan before but haven’t seen the other two. Priceless!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Delete the second one – thanks! Disqus totally failed me…

  20. correction says:

    No, Meg Ryan in fact does not live near Lake Monroe. She lives in NYC with her little girl. John Mellencamp and her spend most of their time there or in South Carolina now.

  21. Moderator3 says:

    I can, but I’m not certain what you want done.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Sorry for the repost…now I can’t fix it

  23. jpohl says:

    Don’t the Democrats know that the ACA is the “law of the land”. They just told everybody it cannot be delayed. Just wait till you see the doctor waiting rooms in a few years. THe web site explains some pretty grim outlooks for the future.

  24. NCMan says:

    Lucky for today’s young people, if they are working minimum wage jobs, the subsidies should cover most, if not all the cost.

  25. NCMan says:

    Yeah, but I’m talking about this is more general terms than just the healthcare debate. It just seems to me that we excuse a lot of behavior from people in their mid to late 20s as being because they are still just “kids”, And, the age for these excuses being accepted just keeps getting older. You know, in the “olden days” a person, once they graduated from school, was no longer allowed to use his or her age as an excuse. There was no talk of …. “he’s just a kid” at the age of 25.

  26. Jafafa Hots says:

    It’s not because we think 26 year old people cannot be responsible.
    It’s because we know that under our current for-profit medical system, it’s next to impossible for many if not most people that age to be able to afford their own health insurance.

  27. Tor says:

    Hopefully, another generation will not have to share that plight.

  28. Tor says:

    I remember when I thought a 27-year-old person was quite mature, if not old. I was 23 at the time.

  29. NCMan says:

    Every time I see a picture of Ted Cruz, it gives off a rodent vibe. It’s the pointy nose, beady little eyes and the weird eyebrows. I’m sure I recall a cartoon rat that looks just like him. But, so far I haven’t been able to recall which rat from which movie to be able to come up with the rat’s picture to prove the point.

    You know how Mitch McConnell looks just like that famous cartoon turtle? Well I just know there is a cartoon rat out there that looks just like Ted Cruz.

  30. FLL says:

    If you want to scare people, how about these Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan/Ted Cruise lookalikes from “The Munsters”?

  31. HeartlandLiberal says:

    Kenny Aronoff, who was drummer for John Mellencamp on ten albums and years of tours, although I do not think he has an degree beyond his BA from Indiana University, was from 1993 to 1997 Associate Professor of Percussion at Indiana
    University. The Aronoff Percussion Scholarship is awarded annually to a
    percussion student enrolled at IU. Also, in related news, Meg Ryan is in fact living with John Mellencamp at his big home above the lake down on Lake Monroe south of town, and the two are occasionally seen here, out and about the area. And that ends of my paparazzi report today.

  32. Whitewitch says:

    43 it is then – you have to be 43 to be grown! I am pretty darn grown then.

  33. Whitewitch says:

    Probably true – however there are lots of single moms (like me) that scraped every penny to send our children to college and did not have health insurance…so although possibly true – not necessarily true.

  34. Phred says:

    Slight nitpick, if I may: I spent most of my 20s without insurance, also part of my 40s. I didn’t think I was invulnerable–it’s that I was working minimum-wage jobs (or job-hunting), and I could no more afford insurance than I could afford to fly to Paris for the weekend. My insurance plan was to hope I died quickly and painlessly. As soon as I could afford it, I signed up, but it took a long, long time.

  35. olandp says:

    “This time, some guy who looks like Freddie – no, not that Freddie, rather Freddie Mercury from Queen – keeps appearing on your TV even though the TV is unplugged.”

    There is another Freddie? Surely you jest.

  36. The_Fixer says:

    This is one of the more ridiculous pieces of crap I’ve watched in a while. And the “Opt Out” business is comical. If you’re getting insurance of any kind, which they recommend, aren’t you opting in?

    This is just the dumbest, most poorly done thing to grace my screen in a while. Cheesy, stupid, contradictory… the list goes on. It’s the result of efforts by a committee of really stupid people.

  37. NCMan says:

    I just marvel at how society in general keeps pushing the age at which we think people should be expected to act as responsible adults and take responsibility for their own actions further and further out.

  38. Monoceros Forth says:

    Indeed! It’s always fun to learn these things.

  39. BeccaM says:

    I’m guessing they think it’ll go viral or something.

  40. emjayay says:

    After he was cast someone suggested that he lose it. He said no, I’m funnier with the moustache. He was right.

    One time his not-too-bright brother was trying to insult him and came up with “One eye higher than the other one” and “moustache too big for your face”.

  41. emjayay says:

    I’m guessing that college students have a higher percentage of parents with health insurance than the general populace.

  42. emjayay says:


  43. emjayay says:

    But by then most of them will have a job with insurance included. By most I mean the 51% who have gotten non-McJobs by then.

  44. emjayay says:

    It’s too long for TV. Wonder what the audience is supposed to be. It’s not like anyone would watch it on YouTube or anything. I guess it is expected to run on right wing websites, plus progressive ones that might have some college age trolls checking them out.

  45. emjayay says:

    Except he was covered by British National Health, but there was no effective drug cocktail for AIDS yet.

  46. Naja pallida says:

    Guitarist from Dream Syndicate has a PhD in English… which probably explains why he’s a musician. The former drummer for Offspring is a gynecologist. The lead singer/guitarist for Bad Religion also has a PhD in zoology. There’s a few out there, but not sure if any of them measure up to Brian May being an astrophysicist. :)

  47. Naja pallida says:

    I don’t find most of it funny, but then, I have never found Will Ferrell to be funny… and that type of comedy doesn’t appeal to me in general. The ones I have found entertaining are usually the ones where they bring in other celebrities to act in absurd ways.

  48. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I may never forgive you for saying that guy looks like Freddie.

  49. Indigo says:

    The self-publishing, self-producing industry. I wonder how much they rake in annually on those scams?

  50. nicho says:

    On one hand, you’re right. On the other hand, most 27-year-olds– while considered adults — are in pretty good health and think that they’re invulnerable. For them, 30 is “old,” 45 is “ancient,” and over 60 is just sitting in god’s waiting room.

  51. Monoceros Forth says:

    Damn this crap. For the love of God let’s watch some real Freddie Mercury instead! (And listen to the only guitar god with a Ph.D. that I know about.)

  52. Monoceros Forth says:

    I think he looks a bit like Jason Lee in his “My Name is Earl” pornstache phase.

  53. ArthurH says:

    If the ad is supposed to convince young people not to get health insurance, why use the image of Freddie Mercury, who died young at age 45 and suffered severe health problems during his final years? He looked so much like death-warmed-over at the end that his final music videos were either shot in black-and-white or covered his face with thick kabuki makeup. Showing the 44-year-old Mercury and saying “this could happen to you; can you afford not to be covered?” might actually convince the young to get health insurance under ACA or elsewhere.

  54. Whitewitch says:

    I think you are right about “young” people on college campuses being on their parents plan, IF their parents have such a plan (many don’t). It also demonstrates how out of touch those against the plan really are.

  55. BeccaM says:

    Well yeah — some of the stuff on F-or-D is decidedly un-funny.

  56. Naja pallida says:

    Well, in one way they have a point. Insurance is largely a scam. For-profit companies that have as their only goal to soak as much money out of people as possible, and avoid paying anything out, no matter the customer’s need. The ACA codifies that scam into law, and punishes people for not wanting to take part in it.

    The wealthy can make the argument against insurance, because they can afford to… but how the average person can fall for it, I don’t understand at all.

  57. Naja pallida says:

    Maybe it was intended for Funny or Die, but they chose the Die part instead of the Funny part?

  58. BeccaM says:

    That was my takeaway, too. It could just as easily have been posted on Funny or Die as a parody ad.

  59. BeccaM says:

    It’s the type of ad designed not by a professional ad firm, but rather a cut-rate ad firm acting under the amateurish guidance of a bunch of people who say, “Put this in there…and George had this great idea so you HAVE to put that in too…plus Jane’s nephew had this amazing idea — put that in also.”

  60. Yeah I thought it was way too long too

  61. NCMan says:

    LOL My point also included who the intended audience for these types of ads is anyway. I saw reported before that the opponents of the ACA were setting up shop on college campuses to try to convince “young” people to not sign up. Wouldn’t the majority of “young” people on college campuses be 26 or younger and be on their parents’ plans?

  62. Whitewitch says:

    How old is Ted Cruz…I am going to put him as the defining age for young – because clearly he is not grown!

  63. 2patricius2 says:

    Looks like satire, plain and simple.

  64. cole3244 says:

    the b&w look i like and the cons are comfortable with, humor isn’t usually the cons choice but since the point is silly i guess the theme is appropriate.

  65. KarenJ says:

    A really amateurish stupid ad that lasts for nearly TWO MINUTES? I don’t think any rational person of ANY political persuasion will hang around to see the conflicting “right insurance” message at the end, let alone the suggestion to visit They’ll hit the mute button and get up to get some more popcorn or another beer.

  66. NCMan says:

    Fer gawd’s sake. How old can you be and still be considered “young” nowadays? People up to the age of 26 can be on their parents’ plans. Is an adult age 27 and above who is responsible for their own health now considered “young”? People used to be considered responsible adults at High School graduation. Then it became after college graduation. When is it now? Are we still considered “young” and not fully grown and responsible until 35 or 40 now? Just how old can you be now and still be considered young enough not to understand the need for health insurance?

  67. biggerbox says:

    That “Chad” looks like he’ll need some medical care soon. Pale, dry skin, limp hair, bad muscle tone. I think he needs a check-up. I hope he finds the insurance he needs before whatever is coming his way hits hard. (Yes, stoners need health care, too!)

  68. Whitewitch says:

    I think the wealthy know that if you are constantly fighting for something (like healthcare) you are too busy to see what they are doing. They also think if you get sick, and your are not one of them, you should not take up room in their doctors office, or make them have to wait because there are more people getting help. It is really all about THEM and THEM not loosing anything THEY have.

  69. Whitewitch says:

    Oh my Goddess….this commercial rocks…I love it and more importantly I think it is funny and shows how silly this issue has become and how silly the anti-healthcare folks are.

  70. Tyro says:

    Lots of conservatives are avoiding this trap by arguing against the very concept of insurance itself. Not that they themselves would ever go without insurance, but they are trying to come up with arguments about why other people shouldn’t get it. The thing is that most people want insurance if they can get it, so conservatives knowing that “get insurance” is actually a pro-Obamacare message, are trying to turn the culture against insurance in general, at least for the hoi polloi.

  71. heimaey says:

    It totally does look like a Beastie Satire.

  72. heimaey says:

    Not sure why they’re still fighting this one. Everyone is going to love getting affordable health care. In two years people will be like “why did I fight this.” Or be against it and at the same time on it.

  73. slappymagoo says:

    First of all, it doesn’t look like Freddie Mercury, it looks Chris Marquette trying to look like one of the Beastie Boys in their old “Sabotage” video.

    Second of all I find it interesting that this anti-Obamacare ad tries to scare people away from “joining the system” when the people who ponied up the money to pay for the ad would be thrilled if you signed up for the Army the next time Uncle Sam feels the need to up the ante on the war on Terror.

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