Hey Girl, These Healthcare Ads Are Nuts

A Colorado ad initiative is causing controversy for daring to inject a little humor into the health insurance conversation. The Gen Y-targeted ads highlight ways young people might benefit from health insurance coverage, like getting free birth control pills or not having to use beer-fund money to cover doctor's bills. A few even utilize the Ryan Gosling 'Hey, Girl' meme. They're not exactly clever but they stand out, which was the point — getting people's attention and directing it to the recently-launched health insurance exchanges.

The "Got Insurance?" ad campaign is a joint social media effort from the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and ProgressNow Colorado. Directed at all ages, the campaign features some ads with children, a mother and toddler, and a famous mountain climber. But it's the young adult ads that are getting the most attention, specifically the ones mentioning sex, birth control or alcohol.

The idea of young women taking birth control can still provoke the same reaction it did in the 1960s in some circles, and those same circles tend to love a good Obamacare pile-on. As you can imagine, the usual suspects have been having a field day pearl-clutching about the Colorado ads.The New York Post's S.A. Miller said it "underscores how the (Affordable Care Act's) backers will say just about anything to lure young people to sign up for the new health coverage, an outcome that is critical to ObamaCare working as planned." [By "say just about anything," she seems to mean tell the truth?] Conservative talk-radio host Dana Loesch said the ad promotes "ho-surance” and asked the director of Progress Colorado: "What do you have against diversity and showing women as entrepreneurs and academics again?"

That's a bit of a trick question, considering the ads are portraying college-age individuals, most of whom aren't anything yet job-wise. The young men aren't being portrayed as rocket scientists, either. The ads do make college students overall seem a little bit dumb or frivolous — but college students can be dumb and frivolous sometimes. No one's saying "this is a representative sampling of reasons why Millennials support Obamacare" or "this girl having casual sex with a Ryan Gosling cutout is representative of all birth control users." To me, the ads seem cheesy but harmless. And considering we're all discussing them, effective too.

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