PUBLISHED: 15:53 EST, 3 October 2013 | UPDATED: 16:25 EST, 3 October 2013
Obamacare organizers in Colorado are taking Obamacare promotion to a new low – at least in terms of their dress code.
A health insurance provider is sending 20-something activists out on the streets of Denver in their underwear to persuade young people to ‘get covered.’
The resulting photos and video footage, which the organization published on Instagram this week, has a protest flavor that comes complete with a Twitter hashtag: #getcoveredCO.
And U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill for the risque street performances through a federal government loan.
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The message, ‘Without health insurance, you’re exposed,’ was likely cooked up in a late-night college dorm bull session
ColoradoHealthOP, a statewide insurance co-op that favors full enrollment in Obamacare and sells the policies through the state’s exchange, says it was ‘approved for federal funding within the Affordable Care Act in July 2012.’
The group’s Instagram photos show a cadre of five college-age activists in their skivvies, carrying strategically placed ‘Get Covered’ signs while they talk to their recruitment targets.
The Affordable Care Act’s coverage model depends on enrolling 7 million Americans, including at least 2.5 million young people.
Without the insurance premiums from the young and healthy to offset the higher costs associated with being old and sick, the Obamacare system won’t be funded enough to sustain itself.
The Associated Press reported in July that Connect For Health Colorado, the state’s Obamacare exchange, is spending more than $21 million to promote enrollment, and that the funds are coming from federal government grants.
About $17 million of that money has gone to 58 separate Colorado organizations that are making person-to-person pitches and helping people – especially young people – sign up for Obamacare.
ColoradoHealthOP CEO Julia Hutchins confirmed that her organization was formed to sell insurance policies via the Connect for Health Colorado marketplace. But she denied that any money changes hands between the two.
‘We, as a co-op health plan, received our own federal loan money to start a health insurance company that is member-governed,’ she said.
‘And part of the plan we submitted to apply for the loan money included outreach expenses, and that promotion, the underwear thing, was part of it.’
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This pair flashed their skin Tuesday on Denver’s 16th Street pedestrian malll, but the photo suggests they didn’t have many takers
Hutchins said that while she wants to sell insurance plans to young Coloradoans, the stunt’s stripped-down nature was equally aimed at the older set.
‘Surprisingly, they really did catch the attention of everybody,’ she said. It was amazing … Our board members, who are mostly in their 50s and 60s, would have loved to be there.’
The scantily clad Denver street team handed out brochures to anyone who would come within arm-s reach
Colorado policy experts who don’t agree with the concept of Obamacare, or the use of their tax dollars to promote it, aren’t impressed.
‘It’s a bad day for Obamacare when proponents have to hire models to dress like Miley Cyrus to walk the streets of Denver,’ said Compass Colorado executive director Kelly Maher.
‘These PETA-style stunts show how truly desperate they are to get people to sign up for these plans.
Compass Colorado is a conservative group that argues for fiscal responsibility and smaller government.
PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is a group that promotes the improbable and unpopular position that food, laboratory and fur-bearing animals should have legal rights. Its most famous for its naked protests that draw attention to its cause.
Jon Caldara, president of the libertarian-leaning Colorado think tank the Independence Institute, told MailOnline that taking off your clothes isn’t the best way to sell the merits of the president’s health insurance overhaul.
‘There are people who need better health care in America,’ Caldara said, ‘and what are we saying to them – that we’re spending taxpayer money selling these plans the way a beer company advertises their product?’
‘This money could be spent on actual health care. Give me the hot chicks without the bad policy and maybe I could be sold.’
Stripping down is part of the toolbox at PETA, where sex sells and grabbing attention is the #1 priority
Video Source: Instagram
MailOnline reported yesterday that some state-level health exchanges have seen fewer than 1 out of 100 website visitors signing up for their insurance plans since they launched Monday at midnight. Colorado’s exchange administrators didn’t respond to a request for statistics for that story.
The White House insisted on Wednesday that it doesn’t have data showing how many Americans have signed up for health insurance through the federal government’s flagship website, healthcare.gov. The Obama administration did, however, publish the numbers of Web hits the site received, along with state covering phone calls and online chats it conducted.
And a Washington Post blogger pleaded Thursday morning with members of the public who have successfully signed up for Obamacare coverage to come forward.
‘As of yet, we haven’t tracked this person – or these people – down,’ the Post writer explained.T’his is not for lack of effort. Reporters here at The Washington Post and at other publications have been on the hunt for this mythical creature.’
Connect For Health Colorado, the official Obamacare insurance exchange in the state said it’s not affiliated with the nearly-naked stunt. ‘This is not our promotion,’ Bragg-Gamble said in an email.
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