The Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity have invested heavily in a series of anti-healthcare attack ads in recent months, most of which feature alleged “victims” of the Affordable Care Act. As has been well documented, many of these “horror stories” turn out to be far from horrible upon closer scrutiny – AFP has practically created a full-employment program for fact-checkers.
But even as the American mainstream seems to reject the anti-healthcare message, the far-right activist group isn’t changing strategy. When the story of one ACA “victim” gets debunked, the Koch brothers’ operation finds another. When that evidence is discredited, the group tries again. And again. And again.
The latest spot from Americans for Prosperity, attacking Sen. Mark Pryor (D) in Arkansas, is fascinating because it seems designed to circumvent the fact-checkers by avoiding actual claims or arguments. Viewers are introduced to an Arkansas man named Jerry, who says he received a letter from his insurer saying his old policy would be cancelled.
Except, we already know that in Arkansas, “people with non-compliant plans” can stay on them through October 2017.
So, is Jerry still on his old plan? The ad doesn’t say. Would he save money under a new plan? The ad doesn’t say that, either. Does he even like his old plan? The ad doesn’t say that, either.
It appears AFP wants to present Jerry as a victim because he’s not sure what’s going to happen with his coverage at some point down the road, but (a) there was a heckuva lot more uncertainty for consumers before “Obamacare” than after it; (b) Arkansas has already ensured that folks like Jerry can keep their old plan (or perhaps even check to see whether a better deal with a new plan is available).
In other words, if this is an attempt at emotional manipulation, it’s not a very good one.
Making matters slightly worse, AFP also has a new attack ad in Michigan, which is arguably even more dubious than the Arkansas spot.
A new ad featuring a Grand Rapids resident complaining that her new health insurance plan is “not affordable” due to Obamacare leaves out an important fact. Shannon Wendt turned down Medicaid coverage for family, according to posts she made on her Facebook wall.The ad from Koch-backed “social welfare” non-profit Americans for Prosperity neglects to mention that the Wendt family could be enjoying nearly fully subsidized government insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. […]Wendt – a Republican precinct delegate who has taken strident stands against Obamacare in the past – echoes right wing complaints about Medicaid that hint at the fallacious and malicious argument that having Medicaid is worse than having no coverage at all.
FactCheck.org has more, documenting how this family would actually benefit greatly from the Affordable Care Act.
Remember, if “Obamacare” were really so awful, it’d be incredibly easy to find legitimate horror stories that stood up well to scrutiny. Indeed, ACA “victims” would be everywhere, eager to tell their story.
The fact that these attack ads are so routinely – and so easily – discredited speaks volumes.