A Colorado ad campaign to encourage young people to purchase the insurance plans offered under Obamacare have garnered criticism for their glib attitude and promotion of risky behaviors.
Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado, a subsidiary of Planned Parenthood, tweeted Nov. 12 that an ad entitled "Let's get physical" was "unfortunate" for its "#slutshaming #women who use #birthcontrol," incorrectly assuming that the campaign was a parody by "anti-obamacare folks."
It was only after two hours that PPVotesColorado realized the ads were not parodies, and tweeted that “to be clear, ads encouraging women to be healthy are good! So is dialogue about birth control.”
The ad in question featured a "Hot to Trot" millennial woman with a date and birth control pills, who expressed that she hoped the man is "as easy to get as this birth control," and that all she has "to worry about is getting him between the covers."
"It's degrading to women, and it says a lot about what they think of America's youth today," said Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., to Fox News.
The ads were commissioned by Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and ProgressNow Colorado Education, targeting younger generations to join the Affordable Care Act's healthcare exchanges.
The exchanges have been the subject of criticism since their opening on Oct. 1 due to their expense, lack of coverage, difficult-to-navigate website, and the cancelation of millions of already-existing plans due to new regulations.
As of Nov. 13, little more than 106,00 people have signed up for an Obamacare plan, the majority of them middle-aged or older, and policymakers have expressed concern over the program's future because of a lack of healthy, young people participating in the exchanges to offset the healthcare costs of the older individuals.
The ad campaign featured a tongue-in-cheek treatment of young persons engaging in risky behavior, including two bloodied pre-teen girls gathered together after a particularly violent game of soccer; college "bros" doing keg stands; ayoung boy carving a pumpkin with a machete; women taking "shotskis" off of skis; and two young women looking to "run away" with a cardboard cutout of Ryan Gosling after gaining "easy access to birth control."
One of the ads featuring college-aged men drinking, entitled "Brosurance," proclaimed: "Kegstands are crazy. Not having insurance is crazier. Don't tap into your beer money to cover those medical bills."
Adam Fox, the director of strategic engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative told Business Insider that it has "been fun to watch how it all plays out."
"We wanted to come up with a campaign that would attract attention and inject a bit of humor, and try to approach educating people about health insurance a little bit differently," he continued.
"It was really just brainstorming, 'OK, what are some of those risky activities we could work with that would tie it all together?'"
Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Senior Fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute, however, commented that the emphasis on risky behavior was less than entertaining. On a Nov. 13 post on the Concerned Women for America Facebook page, Crouse questioned the "encouragement for young people to destroy themselves and their futures."
She explained that among youth, "there is an STD epidemic (20 million NEW cases every year in the 15-25 bracket)," and binge drinking among youth sends many "teens to the hospital with alcohol poisoning — some to their deaths, not to mention the assaults, depression, suicide and wasted years," that come with risky behavior.
She added that the glorification of people's desires was not a positive trend for culture at large.
"While we glorify all sorts of strange, weird, off the wall 'spiritual' ideas, we denigrate and poke fun at Judeo-Christian values and the people who live by those tenets of faith," she commented.
"While we claim to love children and give them every material thing they could possibly want, we deny them the chance for meaningful, fulfilling lives. While we claim we want to empower women, we treat them as though they are ignorant, non-thinking fools and/or sex objects."