This month, Cover Oregon began an expensive ad campaign begging for signups promoting the benefits of the health care exchange system set up by the bipartisan legislature. Obamacare is alive and well in Oregon, and to prove it, Cover Oregon is spending $3.9 million in taxpayer money to reach out to hipsters and ex-hippies. Here’s their first stab at it, which combines hip music, an appeal to youth, and the Oregon spirit:
Ahem. Well, that seems like a good use of taxpayer dollars.
The Oregonian described the program:
Aside from its health-related slogan, the campaign goes conspicuously light on words like federal health reforms, insurance or the Affordable Care Act — aka Obamacare. Instead, the ads describe Cover Oregon as “our health care marketplace.” The idea is to avoid controversy and the polarized debate surrounding the federal law.
“We didn’t want to interject ourselves into the national debate,” says Rocky King, executive director of Cover Oregon. “It’s about Oregon, it’s not about Washington, D.C.”
Cover Oregon’s startup funding comes from about $300 million in federal grants, and later will receive funding from an insurance tax.
It goes live in October, when tax credits will be available to small businesses, as well as individuals earning up to $45,900 a year or a family of four earning as much as $94,000.
In response, a grassroots activist (with no budget and armed only with a YouTube account) has crafted a response that is going viral:
Ben Nanke, the activist who composed and produced the video, has this to say by way of description:
Published on Jul 19, 2013
This is a response to the recent ad campaign by Cover Oregon.
As native Oregonians, we found it strange that a large-scale, federally-funded ad campaign is trying to twist the meaning of “the Oregon Spirit.”
Quoting the Oregonian – ‘Mark Ray, co-owner and creative director of North [who created the ad campaign], said the initial ads are to “create almost a hello” sort of vibe, while stressing an “Oregon pride, Oregonians take care of themselves kind of thing.”‘
We agree, and believe that “Oregonians take care of themselves” means exactly that. We take care of ourselves. No government mandates, no tax penalties, and no manufactured marketplaces. We love seeing our fellow Oregonians happy, healthy, and strong, which is why we don’t want to see our state fenced in by government-controlled health care.
Here are the lyrics:
You know there’s more to a state than the rivers and the rain
The trees and weather, for some, it stops there
They say the Oregon spirit but that’s not how I hear it
There’s more to Oregon than you’re aware
From out East they came, past Chimney Rock
Facing snakes and bites and the mud and the rain
They just hiked up their boots and they pushed through the pain
They said “oh, don’t fence me in”
Across the mountains they forged and came with enterprise
The wagon wheels came in fours and dusty boots came in scores
And the heart of the land fell on weary eyes
But the joy that they’d arrived made up for the sores
Long ago the wagons traveled past the cliffs of the Gorge
We watched the sagebrush trails become I-84
It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I’ve seen it before
We say “oh, don’t fence me in.”
You say, “ooh, it looks mighty innocent”
but follow the trail, you know it’s gonna derail
I say “ooh, we’re all going to pay for this”
We’ve travelled quite a long road, and we know where this goes
You say it’s time for a change from the Oregon range
Rugged individuality gives way to rain and trees
So don’t tell the people of Oregon that we don’t care
Don’t fence me in. (Don’t fence me in)
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I can tell which one of these videos is more appealing to the rugged, independent Oregon spirit. Let’s see, millions of dollars granted by the feds to a state government to produce mediocre feel-good fluff, in an effort to convince voters that this government program is not a giant trainwreck and does something that is the opposite of what it does. That’s your federal government at work. Thank goodness for the grassroots activists who see through this tripe and possess more creativity.