Senator Mary Landrieu, D-LA, speaks during a a press conference in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on February 4, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The ACA ‘victims’ who aren’t

Updated
If opponents of the Affordable Care Act are correct, the law’s victims are everywhere. “Obamacare” has hurt so many people, crushed so many dreams, and caused so much anguish that the right has no trouble at all finding “horror stories” that prove just how awful the ACA really is.
 
But despite the ubiquity of these victims, the “horror stories” tend to fall apart rather quickly when subjected to even minor scrutiny. Indeed, in Louisiana, it’s even come to this.
A new political attack ad from the Koch brothers-funded group Americans for Prosperity calls on Louisianans to tell Sen. Mary Landrieu that Obamacare is hurting their families.
 
The ad shows a number of people, who appear to be Louisianans, opening their mail to find a letter stating that their health care policy has been cancelled because of the Affordable Care Act.
 
“Due to the Affordable Care Act, your monthly premium has increased,” a voice-over says in the ad as a man in a rural neighborhood opens a cancellation letter and looks at his young daughter standing next to him. “No longer covered, due to the Affordable Care Act.”
As ABC News found, none of the featured victims are actually victims – they’re actors.
 
To be sure, it’s not unusual to hire actors to appear in commercials – it is, in fact, the norm – but the AFP attack ad could have featured real Louisianans. Indeed, the state is presumably filled with angry people who, according to the commercial, have seen increased premiums and lost coverage. There’s ample reason to believe these enraged throngs don’t actually exist in reality, but maybe they’re out there somewhere.
 
So why not feature them instead of actors?
 
“Hiring professional actors to impersonate Louisiana families is low even for the billionaire Koch brothers,” Friends of Mary Landrieu Campaign Manager Adam Sullivan told ABC News. “If the Koch brothers had even a shred of credibility before launching their latest misleading ad campaign against Sen. Landrieu, they’ve surely lost it now.”
 
Of course, there’s a larger context to this. Landrieu is in a tough, red state re-election fight, so state residents should expect to see plenty of attack ads between now and then fall, but that’s not all that’s going on in the Pelican State right now.
 
Greg Sargent raised an important point yesterday.
The Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity is also planning to lobby state legislators hard to oppose the Medicaid expansion, which is supported by Senator Landrieu and will be debated by the state legislature this spring. Supporters say it could expand coverage to up to 300,000 people.
 
In short, Americans for Prosperity is up with a major TV ad buy featuring fake victims of Obamacare, while planning a major lobbying effort to block Obamacare’s benefits from reaching untold numbers of real people.
For their part, Louisiana Democrats recognize that Medicaid expansion is an uphill climb as a legislative matter, but party leaders told Greg they hope to get the issue onto the statewide ballot on Election Day 2014.
 

Affordable Care Act, AFP, Koch Brothers, Louisiana, Mary Landrieu and Obamacare

The ACA 'victims' who aren't

Updated