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Tailgate targets Obamacare

Charlie Ducey | Monday, November 25, 2013

To mark the passage of the last home game of the 2013 Irish football season Saturday, Notre Dame fans celebrated in a variety of ways. One group of students used the game as a venue to express their opposition to the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare.”

The Generation Opportunity tailgate, which occupied six tailgate spots in the JACC lot, said they wanted to inform young people of the other options available to them besides participation in the federal health care exchange established by the new law. The Washington, D. C.-based group Generation Opportunity is described on the group’s website as “a free-thinking, liberty-loving, national organization of young people promoting the best of Being American: opportunity, creativity and freedom.”

The tailgate Saturday was not the group’s first event -according to a Nov. 12 article in the Huffington Post, the group previously partnered with University of Miami College Republicans to put on a tailgate at the Virginia Tech-Miami game on Nov. 9.

Junior Mark Gianfalla, president of College Republicans, attended the tailgate event. He said the tailgate attracted a sizable crowd.
“People of wide variety of ages, from between the ages of 15 to 50 or so, attended the tailgate,” Gianfalla said. “Alumni, students and non-ND folks, were there as well.  Throughout the course of the day, I would say 200 people came by.”

At Saturday’s tailgate, Gianfalla said tables were set up with refreshments, one table with 70 pizzas, and another offering Opt Out T-shirts, sunglasses and other merchandise.

Gianfalla said the tailgate introduced Generation Opportunity’s ‘Opt Out’ campaign to Notre Dame’s campus, a program that aims to reach young people deciding whether or not to purchase health care plans through the federal health care exchange.

“We recognize better options are available outside the exchanges, so we’re overwhelmingly choosing to Opt Out and buy insurance that better meet our needs and budgets,” David Pasch said in a Generation Opportunity internet article.

Gianfalla said the tailgate was designed as an informational event, which worked to alert youth of the benefits of searching the private sector for insurance plans. Obamacare is not the ideal option for those in need of insurance at a young age and that the private sector offers much more appealing insurance plans for their age group, he said.

“I think Notre Dame was a perfect location for such an event as a college campus where the outspoken liberal minority of the student body often overshadows the conservative majority, and where the student body needs to know that conservative values and ideals are just as popular with the youth of this country as the ‘popular’ liberal ones,” Gianfalla said.

Gianfalla said he believes conservative values – like those supported by groups like Generation Opportunity – sway and will continue to influence young voters.

“A little known fact is that Chris Christie won 49 percent of the youth vote in his recent gubernatorial election, and [Ken] Cuccinelli won the vote of 18-to 24-year-olds in his recent Virginia race,” Gianfalla said. “The fact that young people are increasingly turning to conservative politics to ensure their best interest is even more apparent as the Obamacare disaster moves forward.”
Gianfalla said he believes Generation Opportunity plans to continue partnering with groups at other colleges to develop similar events.
 

Contact Charlie Ducey at cducey@nd.edu.