Regarding Evan Feinberg's March 26 column, "Signup ads for Obamacare insulting to millennials":
The author is president of Generation Opportunity, a conservative nonprofit organization targeting young people, financially backed by the Koch brothers. GenOp espouses a right-leaning agenda and shares the aims of other such organizations, notably the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Feinberg ridicules the administration's media campaign to convince 18-to-34-year-olds to sign up for coverage under the ACA. Really? His is the same organization best known for its advertisements urging young people to opt out of Obamacare, featuring a creepy, clownish Uncle Sam character performing gynecological and prostate exams. "Don't let the government play doctor. Opt out of Obamacare," the ads tell viewers.
In these ads, GenOp characterizes the ACA as an invasion of private health services. The commercials have been widely criticized for their use of scare tactics and for drawing on the imagery of rape. The depiction of the ACA as intrusive is laughable and ironic, as these same extreme groups have tried to pass transvaginal ultrasound laws and other laws allowing politicians to interfere with personal medical decisions.
GenOp also spends a significant amount of money on "youth targeted" events and planned to spend "up to $750,000 on a 'messaging push and tour'" to encourage young people to opt out of the Affordable Care Act. The tour included events such as college football tailgate parties and stops at bars in college towns where students were given free beer, gift cards and the chance to win an iPad.
GenOp's message is simple: Young people are better off paying a penalty for being uninsured than they are purchasing health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. This campaign is the height of hypocrisy. More important, it is irresponsible and dangerous, designed to spread misinformation and discourage young people from getting access to high-quality, affordable health care. It is unfortunate that The Press allowed itself to be co-opted into it.
JAMES H. MASON V