Did anti-ObamaCare ads actually boost health care enrollment?

Did anti-ObamaCare ads actually boost health care enrollment?
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

ObamaCare enrollments were noticeably higher in states that also saw the most concerted anti-ObamaCare ad campaigns, according to a new Brookings report.

Brookings' Niam Yaraghi calculated per capita spending on anti-ObamaCare ads, and then compared it against the percentage of eligible ObamaCare enrollees who signed up for coverage. The results:

[A]fter controlling for other state characteristics such as low per capita income population and average insurance premiums, I observe a positive association between the anti-ACA spending and ACA enrollment. This implies that anti-ACA ads may unintentionally increase the public awareness about the existence of a governmentally subsidized service and its benefits for the uninsured. [Brookings]

Of course, there are other reasons people signed up en masse in some states but not in others. Kentucky, for instance, had the most anti-ObamaCare ad spending — but it also boasted a fantastic state-run exchange website. Still, the Koch brothers and others who bankrolled the enormous campaign to curb ObamaCare enrollments can't be happy with the news they may have inadvertently undercut their own effort.

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