If casual viewers catch the ad by accident, they might think the commercial supports the Affordable Care Act. Randy Westby says in the spot, “I’ve had three heart attacks in the last six years. Health care is something that’s essential. My life depends on it.”
Right, which is all the more reason that “Obamacare” is likely to be a life-saving law for millions of Americans. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Westby won’t have to worry about being denied coverage due to his pre-existing condition; he’ll have peace of mind knowing that he’ll still have insurance even if he loses or changes his job; and he can take comfort in knowing, no matter how serious his heart ailments, he won’t face annual or lifetime limits. For a person in Westby’s position, a law like this is arguably a godsend – his life, as he says in the ad, may very well depend on having access to quality, affordable care.
But as it turns out, Westby is actually the star of a new right-wing attack ad, created by the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, and targeting Rep. Rick Nolan (D) in Minnesota’s 8th district. Apparently, according to the ad, Westby is in that small sliver of the population that received cancellation notices as part of reforms to the individual, non-group market.
[W]as Westby able to find another plan? … The ad doesn’t tell us if Westby is one of those people.
Nor does it note that he can’t be disqualified from any of the plans on the exchanges because of his preexisting condition – and three heart attacks in six years is one heck of a preexisting condition. Are the plans available to him cheaper than what he had before? How much better is the coverage? We don’t know, although given Westby’s medical history and apparent age, it seems he is exactly the type of person most likely to benefit from how the new individual market is structured.
When local reporters reached out to Westby to find out more about his circumstances, and to confirm the accuracy of the ad itself, he refused interview requests, which is certainly his right, but which leaves relevant questions about his argument unanswered.
So what are we left with? A far-right group of dubious credibility, airing an almost comically misleading attack ad featuring an Obamacare critic who stands to benefit greatly from Obamacare. The critic may now have better insurance at a lower cost, but we don’t know because he doesn’t want to talk about it.
Voters are supposed to find this persuasive? Seriously?