Obamacare remains the law of the land despite an all-fronts assault from conservatives. PHOTO: Reuters
Republicans have gone through all sorts of theatrics to fight the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. They voted 46 times to repeal Obamacare, brought a Supreme Court case, and promised repeal if they won in 2012. When none of that worked, they shut down the government in an attempt to hold Obamacare hostage. And still, Obamacare stands.
Though conservatives have failed in all of their high profile attacks on Obamacare, there are many smaller, guerilla style attacks on Obamacare, some of which have had success. Because these attacks on Obamacare are on a smaller scale and not directly affiliated with the Republican Party, they have been stranger, more base, and less honest than the official Republican Party attacks on Obamacare, and that’s saying something. Here are 5 of the most notable Obamacare attacks:
1. Shutting Down the Mississippi health exchange website
Mississippi had a really good state-run website for people to sign up for insurance under Obamacare. The website, One, Mississippi is still up, but once you click “Shop and Compare” to check out some health plans, you are taken to an error page. Why? Because Mississippi’s Republican Governor Phil Bryant doesn’t like Obamacare, and his ace legal team determined that the Mississippi Insurance Department “lacks the authority under Mississippi law to establish and operate an exchange under the ACA.”
This means that the federal Obamacare website, healthcare.gov, has had to take on Mississippi’s insurance sign-ups, and so far this has meant fewer people in Mississippi signing up for health insurance.
Related: 7 Reasons Why Obamacare Is Awesome
2. The Creepy Uncle Sam Ads
You may have seen or heard of these. A group called Generation Opportunity is leading the charge to get people to simply not sign up for health insurance under Obamacare, and they are targeting college students. Why? College students tend to be low information voters, are less likely to have health insurance outside of their school’s coverage, and are necessary to the success of Obamacare. The basic deal under Obamacare is that insurance companies can make money on young healthy people and lose money on older, infirm people.
Generation Opportunity’s pitch to college students is basically that you shouldn’t sign up for health insurance under Obamacare or Creepy Uncle Sam will violate you. No, seriously.
3. Petitioning Against The Baltimore Ravens
Yes, the fight against Obamacare has been an all-fronts war, and one of those fronts has been the Super Bowl champs of 2013. Following in the footsteps of the Boston Red Sox, who encouraged people to sign up for health insurance under a state program very similar to Obamacare (signed into law by some guy named Mitt Romney), the Baltimore Ravens opened this NFL season with a pitch to their fans to sign up for health insurance under Obamacare.
Naturally, Republicans were outraged. Americans for Tax Reform (Grover Norquist’s group) launched a petition to tell the Ravens to “focus on winning games, not promoting the Obamacare trainwreck.”
While Republicans couldn’t stop the Ravens from supporting Obamacare, they did prevent a similar effort from the NFL as a whole. Republican Congressman wrote letters and groups floated the idea of organizing boycotts against the NFL. The NFL decided to avoid the negative attention and cancelled those plans.
4. Throwing Sexy, Boozy, Pledge-To-Opt-Out College Parties (with Creepy Uncle Sam)
Yeah, we’re not done with “Generation Opportunity” and Creepy Uncle Sam. The group held big, beer-soaked party with paid models and paid Creepy Uncle Sam at the University of Miami. Also, lots of material on why you shouldn’t sign up for health insurance under Obamacare, and pledges to opt out of Obamacare. Hey, if the facts don’t support you, get a bunch of people drunk.
5. Launching Websites That Suggest You Don’t Need To And Shouldn’t Sign Up For Obamacare
A Florida-based marketing group launched two websites to help Alaska residents make some decisions about Obamacare. One of them, Know The Facts Alaska, does not appear partisan, but it has a quiz to help you determine if you should sign up under Obamacare (which says that you shouldn’t, regardless of your answers), and then there is this extremely misleading line:
“Obamacare won’t be fully implemented until at least 2018, so time is on your side.” No mention of the fact that if you are not signed up by March 2014, you will get fined (that date may get moved, but by a year at most).
The other website, Don’t Enroll Alaska, is openly partisan, and contains doozies like this one:
“According to the Doctor Patient Medical Association, 83% of doctors say that they may quit their practice.”
That number isn’t within shouting distance of the truth (Simon Malloy of Media Matters did a good teardown job on that one).
Read More: What Is Obamacare?
Obamacare is here to stay. The launch has been rocky, but the road is smoothing out, and in time, the world before Obamacare will seem as distant as the world before social security. These attacks on Obamacare are absurd and immoral (though you can’t fault their commitment). Fortunately they will fail in time, which means they can slide from infuriating to funny.