These Mortifying Obamacare Ads Are Not Going To Help Anything

If Obamacare is going to work, young people need to buy in. These ads about “brosurance,” “BFFs,” and Ryan Gosling aren’t going to make that happen.

Aside from the much-in-the-news problems of website design and sign-up difficulties, the true test of the Affordable Care Act will be if enough young people sign up to make the program viable. Many young people forgo health insurance, because they’re healthy and don’t need it. But for the plan to really work, young people need to be paying premiums anyways, to help cover the cost of the older people who do get sick.


The tax penalties for not signing up are supposed to help with this, though they are rather laughably small, so the government is also undertaking an advertising campaign to help convince younger people to sign up. Judging from these ads, they’re going to need to work a little harder.

Flagged by Noah Rothman, the ads come from a Colorado project called Got Insurance, which is a project of the Thanks Obamacare campaign, the larger national effort to promote the new law.

The ads are geared toward young people, and describe slightly humorous situations a young person might be in that would then require insurance. Young people drink and have sex a lot, it seems, and that’s how to reach them. Some drinking buddies note that “Keg stands are crazy. Not having health insurance is crazier.” Some drinking buddies (female edition) like their “shotskis” and “flu shots” and happily note that saving money on flu shots leaves more cash for said shotskis. A girl notes a guy is hot and hopes he’s as easy to get as her birth control. Ryan Gosling makes an appearance.

Scroll through the slide show above or go here to see more. Suffice it to say, young people and Obamacare deserve better than this. Perhaps an actual, non-patronizing appeal to people’s wallets, health, and society would better serve the cause of the health exchanges. If the real-life arguments can’t be boiled down into a good ad, then Obamacare has a lot more problems than a shoddy website.

About the author

Morgan is a senior editor at Fast Company. He edits the Ideas section, formerly