It’s about time. -PBN
It was bound to happen: Canceled health plans are the new stars of anti-Obamacare ads.
Americans for Prosperity, one of the most powerful tea party groups in the country, is launching TV ads Thursday against two first-term House Democrats that blame the health care law for taking away health insurance people already had.
The group is spending more than $600,000 on the ads against Rick Nolan of Minnesota’s 8th District and Ann McLane Kuster of New Hampshire’s 2nd District. And it’s promising to spend a lot more on TV, radio and digital media in the coming months to highlight the disruption it says the law is causing in people’s lives.
Unlike other tea party groups, Americans for Prosperity stayed out of the push to defund Obamacare — the campaign that led to the government shutdown — arguing that the law won’t be repealed until opponents of the law have stronger numbers in Congress. The group says this will be part of a broader campaign that will target other vulnerable House Democrats as well as Senate Democrats in close races.
“We have said all along that repealing Obamacare is a long-term effort, and these ads are a continuation of that effort,” said AFP president Tim Phillips. The message of the ads, he says, is that “it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be changed.”
The Minnesota ad focuses on the individual health insurance plans that were canceled because they didn’t meet the health care law’s new coverage standards. It features a Minnesota resident, Randy Westby, who says his health policy was canceled and criticizes Nolan for voting against an Obamacare repeal bill in May 2013.
“I’ve had three heart attacks in the last six years. Health care is something that’s essential, and my life depends on it,” Westby says in the ad.
The ad doesn’t say whether Westby was able to find new health insurance after that, or whether the new coverage cost more or less. It just focuses on Obama’s promise that “if you like yourhealth plan, you can keep it,” and notes that PolitiFact called that claim the “lie of the year.”
The New Hampshire ad is more general, featuring an actress who cites a list of disruptions to argue that “Obamacare doesn’t work.”
“Millions of people have lost their health insurance. Millions of people can’t see their own doctors. And millions are paying more and getting worse,” the ad says.
There are no official estimates of how many individual health insurance plans were canceled, but insurance industry officials have said the most plausible estimate is 4 million to 5 million. The Obama administration, however, believes that fewer than half a million people were still looking for replacement insurance as of last week, since most have likely found new insurance through their insurers or signed up for Obamacare coverage.
Administration officials have been delaying deadlines to give the rest as much time as possible to sign up — like this week’s decision to extend the signup deadline from Monday to Tuesday — and giving people other coverage options in case they don’t find replacements.
Nolan may be an opponent of repeal, but he hasn’t exactly been a cheerleader for the law. In October, he said Obama should “man up” and fire people over the sloppy website launch.
And both he and Kuster voted for the House Republican “Keep Your Health Plan Act” last month, endorsing a legislative fix after Obama said insurance companies could extend people’s old health plans voluntarily.