More than three years after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, the heated debate over whether the health-care reforms will do more harm than good is back in full swing.
The conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, bankrolled by the billionaire Koch brothers, is spending more than $1 million in an ad blitz aimed at undermining confidence in the law. In a new television spot that will first air in Ohio and Virginia before expanding to other states, the group suggests that ObamaCare will limit Americans' health care choices while raising their insurance premiums.
"If I can't pick my own doctor, how do I know my family is gonna get the care they need?," a woman in the ad asks.
(Contrary to that insinuation, there is nothing in the health care law that prevents people from choosing their own doctors.)
In addition to this ad, Americans for Prosperity has also launched a companion website, ObamacareRiskFactors.com, that contains ominous warnings about how the law could alter people's existing health insurance.
While AFP and Republican lawmakers continue to disparage the law, the White House is ramping up its efforts to promote it. With key pieces of the law, like the health care exchange network, slated to go into effect later this year, the administration has reached out to celebrities and both the NFL and NBA seeking partnerships to educate Americans about exactly what the law will do.
A Kaiser Health Tracking Poll in April found that 42 recent of Americans didn't even know the ACA was still the law of the land.
AFP's ad campaign comes one week after the White House announced it would delay until 2015 implementation of a central piece of the law that would require employers with at least 50 full-time employees to offer health insurance to their workers. Republicans seized on that news as a sign that the entire law was untenable and should be scrapped.
The AFP ads were made before that announcement though, so the group is now testing out a new messaging campaign based around the idea that the Obama administration has already admitted its own law is a failure.
"We think that once we incorporate the new bullet points about how the president is already delaying key aspects of the law, it will be even more effective," Tim Phillips, AFP's president, told the New York Times.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- Yes, Republicans can impeach President Obama
- What religious traditionalists can teach us about sex
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The 6 best low-cost smartphones
- Why Texas' abortion rates aren't falling as quickly as everyone expected
- Why all drugs should be legal. (Yes, even heroin.)
- 7 ideas from ancient thinkers that will improve your modern life
Subscribe to the Week