Why the Anti-Obamacare Ads Backfired so Spectacularly
Last year America witnessed some of the most cringe-inducing political advertising campaigns of all time, in which the Koch Brothers attempted to convince young Americans to boycott Obamacare. The videos showed a doctor turning into a creepy Uncle Sam waving a speculum during a gynaecological exam.
Another video followed the same premise in a prostate exam:
These campaigns made up just a tiny fraction of the 450 million dollar spend on anti-obamacare ads across the US by various Obamacare opponents. The spending on anti-Obamacare advertising was fifteen times the level of spending for pro-Obamacare campaigns, yet the anti-Obamacare efforts seem to have been counterproductive. According to an analysis for the Brookings Institution by Niam Yaraghi, a PhD student at the University of Buffalo, the anti-Obamacare ads have backfired:
"While the negative ads reduce the enrolment in red states, they have an opposite effect in blue states. In fact, after controlling for other state characteristics such as low per capita income population and average insurance premiums, I observe a positive association between the anti-ACA spending and ACA enrolment. This implies that anti-ACA ads may unintentionally increase the public awareness about the existence of a governmentally subsidized service and its benefits for the uninsured. On the other hand, an individual’s prediction about the chances of repealing the ACA may be associated with the volume of advertisements against it. In the states where more anti-ACA ads are aired, residents were on average more likely to believe that Congress will repeal the ACA in the near future. People who believe that subsidized health insurance may soon disappear could have a greater willingness to take advantage of this one time opportunity."
There is actually a wealth of research on the principle of ‘The Backfire Effect', which we've recently explored in some depth on this blog. The Backfire Effect has shown people are resistant to persuasion in many areas. Much of this research has been rather depressing: evidence about the safety of vaccines and the existence of global warming have been shown to make both antivaxxers and global warming denialists even more fixed in their views. In light of this research it is hardly surprising that a series of advertising campaigns funded by vested interests with such a patronising message seems to have proven counterproductive. It appears the backfire effect swings both ways.
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Torn between absolutism on the left and the right, classical liberalism—with its core values of compassion and incremental progress whereby the once-radical becomes the mainstream—is in need of a good defense. And Adam Gopnik is its lawyer.
- Liberalism as "radical pragmatism"
- Intersectionality and civic discourse
- How "a thousand small sanities" tackled drunk driving, normalized gay marriage, and could control gun violence
Irish president believes students need philosophy.
- President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins calls for students to be thought of as more than tools made to be useful.
- Higgins believes that philosophy and history should be a basic requirement forming a core education.
- The Irish Young Philosopher Awards is one such event that is celebrating this discipline among the youth.
The lost practice of face-to-face communication has made the world a more extreme place.
- The world was saner when we spoke face-to-face, argues John Cameron Mitchell. Not looking someone in the eye when you talk to them raises the potential for miscommunication and conflict.
- Social media has been an incredible force for activism and human rights, but it's also negatively affected our relationship with the media. We are now bombarded 24/7 with news that either drives us to anger or apathy.
- Sitting behind a screen makes polarization worse, and polarization is fertile ground for conspiracy theories and fascism, which Cameron describes as irrationally blaming someone else for your problems.
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