This is a joke, right? Unfortunately not. In what sounds like the plot to a bad college romp movie, a group calling themselves Generation Opportunity is heading out to various college campuses for what they’re calling an Opt Out Tour; this is the same group responsible for the viral Anti-Affordable Care Act ad with the creepy Uncle Sam. The tour stops, as described by the Guardian, are slated to involve partying, the disturbing Uncle Sam, and attempts at telling college students lies about what their options for health insurance are, and of course how “Obamacare” is evil.
Want to know who’s paying for it? Well at least $5 million of their funding came directly from the Koch brothers’ shadowy political funding organization Freedom Works. If that’s not enough of a connection to the Koch’s, the president of GO is Evan Feinberg, a 29 year-old who used to work for the Charles Koch Institute. Feinberg is the genius who was quoted as saying, “What we’re trying to communicate is, ‘No, you’re not actually required to buy health insurance’ … you might have to pay a fine, but that’s going to be cheaper for you, and better for you.” Yes, it’s better to be uninsured and risk being financially beholden to a hospital for decades on top of all of those “cheap” student loans just so you can say that you didn’t sign up for insurance.
Here’s how the plot of the movie will go. A group of entrepreneurial college students decide based on unsubstantiated information and outright lies that having health care is not only totally uncool, but they overhear some guy wearing a dark suit who must work for the “feds” laughing maniacally as he tells a colleague how the Affordable Care Act is really some kind of government conspiracy. Oh no! What are they to do!? And that’s when they decide to travel the country, stopping at colleges so that they can both connect with the youth by getting them drunk and tell those students that they don’t have to get healthcare through the exchanges.
The fact that it’s true makes it even more sad. These poor delusional fools have convinced themselves that it’s better to pay the fine, or that there are cheaper options for these college students. Will the fine for the first year or two potentially be less than the full cost of the insurance? Yes, but that not only completely ignores the subsidies that most people qualify for, but it assumes that people will not need health services at all. If they stay healthy all year, then paying a couple dollars as a fine on their taxes would certainly be cheaper, but if they have to go to the hospital, that bill will be exponentially larger than the amounts they may pay for insurance through the exchanges. As for cheaper options? Where? If insurance was affordable without the health exchanges there would have been no need for the Affordable Care Act in the first place. Anyone with half a brain would be aware of this, but considering how much partying GO is going to be promoting I’m guessing they’ve already killed quite a few brain cells in their lives. One can only hope that the students they meet aren’t as brain-dead as they are.