For months, conservative opponents of the Affordable Care Act relied on a specific advertising strategy: television commercials featuring regular people (or at least actors who seem like regular people) sharing their awful experiences with the system. The point, of course, is to suggest to the public that the nation is filled with "Obamacare victims."
The strategy failed quite spectacularly. In nearly every instance, the stories were fact-checked and discredited. In most cases, the "victims" were actually better off under the ACA than before.
But the right is a glutton for punishment.
In this new ad
in Kentucky, intended to boost Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R) re-election bid, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce highlights Lexington business owner Patty Breeze telling voters that the ACA is "stifling business."
There's overwhelming evidence to the contrary, but putting that aside, Joe Sonka got in touch
with Breeze to get a better sense of her perspective.
Curious as to what Breeze specifically thinks about the Affordable Care Act, I decided to call her, and had a long phone conversation with her where she aired her many problems with the law. Breeze has run a financial service practice in Lexington since the 1980s, which partly consists of helping businesses and individuals shop the marketplace for healthcare insurance. She went through the certification process to be an insurance agent for clients through Kynect, and since last fall helped roughly 25 individuals and one small business sign up for coverage through the website. While Breeze talked at length about problems with the ACA state exchange in Kentucky (Kynect) -- mostly involving a difficult to use website and insufficient staffing and training for Kynect staff and insurance agents -- she also told me that there are many good parts of the law that she thinks we should keep, and we should improve the law through legislative fixes instead of repealing the law in its entirety and going back to the healthcare system we had before it.
Well, in Kentucky, that's a problem. McConnell insists the Affordable Care Act must be destroyed in its entirety -- or as he routinely puts it, the law should be repealed "root and branch." It's McConnell's opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who's recommended improving the law through legislative fixes.
In other words, the Chamber of Commerce is running a health care ad to help McConnell featuring a business owner who disagrees with McConnell about healthcare. Oops.
"There are some good parts to that federal act," said Breeze, "that people aren't denied (coverage for) pre-existing conditions, and children can stay on their parents health insurance for longer to age 26, and that we've got free preventative services that promote wellness. There are good pieces to that." Asked whether lawmakers should go back and fix the parts of the Affordable Care Act that aren't running smoothly, or repeal the law and start over from scratch, Breeze answered that she favors the "keep and fix" approach. "I don't think we need to go back to the way it was," said Breeze.
To be sure, when you read the whole report, Breeze hardly comes across as an ACA proponent. But she nevertheless made it clear to Sonka -- if not in the ad -- that while she supports McConnell's re-election, she doesn't support McConnell's stated position on health care.
One wonders if the Chamber of Commerce failed to do its homework or if the business lobby just assumed voters wouldn't know the difference.