KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

‘Creepy Uncle Sam’ Urges Young To Stay Away From Obamacare

A Virginia-based conservative group backed by the billionaire Koch brothers launched a campaign this week urging young people to "opt-out" of the law's mandate that all Americans have health insurance. Their first online ads feature young people going for doctor appointments, only to have a "Creepy Uncle Sam" pop up, ready to look them over.

CBS News: Upcoming Obamacare Kickoff Inspires Provocative Ads 
To encourage people to sign up, federal and state officials have set aside millions of dollars for public awareness campaigns. The ads that have aired in recent weeks have been creative and informative. However, they're going up against well-financed opponents of Obamacare who have been equally creative in their outreach. On Thursday, the organization Generation Opportunity, a conservative coalition with ties to the Koch brothers, announced the launch of its #OptOut campaign, designed to encourage young people to "opt out" of the new requirement, starting in 2014, that all Americans acquire health insurance (Condon, 9/20).

The New York Times' The Caucus: 'Creepy Uncle Sam' Is Anti-Health Care Law Mascot
A group seeking to persuade young people to "opt out" of President Obama’s health care law posted videos on YouTube Thursday that show young patients on exam tables recoiling in fear as a character the group is calling "Creepy Uncle Sam" appears out of nowhere and looms over them. The group, Generation Opportunity, said in a news release that the videos were part of a new, six-figure campaign to educate people between the ages of 18 and 29 about "alternatives to expensive and creepy Obamacare exchanges" (Goodnough, 9/19).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Blowback Swift For Creepy 'Uncle Sam' Anti-Obamacare Ad
A controversial new online anti-health law ad depicting a cartoonish “Uncle Sam” as a malevolent gynecologist is -- predictably -- becoming the focus of the latest dust-up between supporters and opponents of the Obama administration. The video, by a group called Generation Opportunity that describes itself as a "national, non-partisan youth advocacy organization," encourages young people to "opt out" of a health law rather than letting "government play doctor" on a woman in stirrups (Radnofsky and Schatz, 9/19).

CNN: Uncle Sam Went To Med School? 
Is Uncle Sam board certified? That's what a series of new online ads wonder as they encourage millennials to "opt out" of Obamacare. Described by their libertarian creators as intentionally creepy, the ads by Generation Opportunity feature young people going for doctor appointments, only to have Uncle Sam pop up, ready to look them over (Koenig, 9/19).

USA Today: Koch-Based Group Launches New Attack On Health Care Law
A conservative group backed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch will launch a new round of advertising Thursday to attack President Obama's health care law, less than two weeks before enrollment opens for new health care exchanges (Schouten, 9/19).

ABC News: One Conservative Group's Multi-Million Dollar Quest To Repeal 'Obamacare'
The powerful and well-funded conservative group Americans for Prosperity took to the airwaves again this week, launching its biggest television advertising blitz yet against the Affordable Care Act. The Koch brothers-fueled Americans for Prosperity released a new 60-second ad on Thursday that includes a Florida woman named Tricia who tells her story of surviving cancer and shares her fears about Obamacare (Rossoll, 9/20).

The Fiscal Times: The Anti-Obamacare Movement Just Got Creepy
The war over Obamacare is getting weird. Really weird. The latest contribution to the bizarre battle over the president's health care law comes in the form of an outrageously creepy ad from Generation Opportunity, a Virginia-based conservative group that is trying to discourage people from signing up for health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges opening on October 1 (Ehley, 9/19).

Politico: Ads Show 'Uncle Sam' In Exam Room
Generation Opportunity, a conservative-leaning youth organization, premiered eerie ads Thursday meant to discourage young people from signing up for Obamacare. The two ads, one featuring a young man and another a woman left alone in exam rooms by their doctors, lying in vulnerable positions and waiting for medical tests. As their doctors exit, a creepy Uncle Sam character emerges to administer the exams (Delreal, 9/19).

Fox News: Groups Wage Grassroots Battle Ahead Of Obamacare Launch
To make it feel even more like a campaign, liberals and conservatives are battling it out on the airwaves. The group Organizing for Action (which used to be Obama For America) is running an ad that shows a restaurant owner along with the narration: "Next year, she can expand her small business thanks to tax credits." Americans for Prosperity is running ads that raise questions about whether families will be able to keep their preferred doctor. One shows a mother who asks rhetorically, "What am I getting in exchange for a higher premium and a smaller paycheck?" (Tobin, 9/19).

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