What's a family values conservative to do when every effort to protect millions of Americans from the scourge of affordable healthcare fails? Break out the beer, of course. The latest campaign to kill off Obamacare in its infancy is now playing out on college campuses where a conservative group known as Generation Opportunity (GO), who are funded in part by the billionaire Koch brothers, is using the lure of free beer and "opt out" beer koozies to persuade young students not to buy health insurance--or, at least, not to buy it from the Obamacare exchanges.
Traditionally, one might expect God-fearing conservatives to be warning youth about the dangers of alcohol consumption, rather than plying them with free liquor, but these are desperate times. The determined Koch brothers have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to derail the president's healthcare law…. Last month, Politico revealed that GO has received $5.04m… about to embark on an "Opt Out" tour of 20 college towns across the country as part of its effort to steer young people away from the Obamacare exchanges. As GO's 29-year-old president, Evan Feinberg, put it:
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.
After coming under criticism for this statement, Feinberg (who previously worked at the Charles Koch Institute) has since clarified that GO is not trying to persuade young people to opt out of buying insurance altogether, just from buying it through the healthcare exchanges…. If Feinberg or any other GO employee genuinely knows about better insurance deals than that for students, it would be really helpful if they listed them on their Opt Out website. Surely, that would be a far better use of their Koch dollars than buying more crates of beer? As it is, the Opt Out website contains no information beyond vague and unsubstantiated claims about Obamacare being a "bad deal", and two embarrassingly poorly made ads featuring a "Creepy Uncle Sam" character who pops up between a woman's legs as she undergoes a gynaecological exam and asks a young man to roll over while he pulls on a surgical glove….
As it happens, even the Koch brothers have begun to realize that their attempts to stop the ACA are getting them nowhere. Last week, a representative of Koch Industries sent a letter to members of the Senate distancing the company from efforts to defund Obamacare… If they at least scale back their efforts to just distributing free beers, that might not be such a bad thing. After what they have put us all through, we deserve one.