New online videos designed to deter young people from signing up for ObamaCare feature a sinister Uncle Sam about to conduct pelvic and prostate exams.
The ads from Generation Opportunity, a Virginia-based group with ties to the Koch brothers, are intended to discourage college students from signing up for the new healthcare exchanges.
The organization is launching a $750,000 campaign against the law, including a series of events on college campuses. But the videos are likely to make the biggest splash.
In the first video, a young woman is asked to undress and place her feet in stirrups ahead of a presumed pelvic exam. The doctor leaves, and a frightening Uncle Sam figure emerges to begin the checkup.
As ominous music plays and the young woman screams, the phrase "Don't let government play doctor ... Opt out of ObamaCare" flashes on the screen. The video closes with a shot of Uncle Sam facing the camera and waving a speculum.
The ad aimed at young men follows a similar script. A male college student is startled by the Uncle Sam figure while in position for a presumed prostate exam. Uncle Sam snaps a latex glove as the video closes.
Generation Opportunity President Evan Feinberg said the commercials are designed to tell young people they're not 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," Feinberg told Yahoo News in an interview.
Supporters of the healthcare law blasted the ad campaign as false and its backers as manipulative.
"It's shockingly disgusting, incredibly insulting and a bald-faced lie. It's gone too far, even for them," said Ethan Rome, executive director with Health Care for America Now.
“It is hard to tell if this is real or if it’s a ‘Saturday Night Live’ parody about the hypocrisy of extremists who want to be in every exam room in America but don’t want to expand access to quality health care,” said Eric Ferrero of Planned Parenthood.
Starting Oct. 1, uninsured consumers will be able to shop for private health insurance coverage on ObamaCare's online marketplaces.
Most people will be required to carry health insurance starting next year. Those who remain uninsured will pay a fine of $95 in the first year and about $700 by 2016.
Opponents of ObamaCare are hoping that young people choose to pay the fines, at least in the first year, rather than join the exchanges.
Going without healthcare coverage, they suggest, will allow college students to send a negative message to federal health officials about the law.
Young people are a vital population to ObamaCare's exchanges. Because the marketplaces will admit patients with pre-existing conditions, enrollment from younger, healthier people will be necessary to balance out premium prices.
The Obama administration argues that the Affordable Care Act contains strong benefits for younger patients. The law allows people under 26 to remain on a parent's health plan, offers free preventive care and allows middle-income consumers to purchase coverage with a federal discount.
— This story was updated at 11:48 a.m.