Americans for Prosperity has taken a see-what-sticks approach to fighting Obamacare, but their latest ad is almost surreal. The ad’s structure is basically: 1) Tell sad, sympathetic story about a child with health problems 2) Blame Obamacare, TRAAAIIINWRECK!
The problem is that the ad unwittingly makes an argument for Obamacare.
I have good news for Renay and her sweet daughter Caleigh, featured in the video: Thanks to Obamacare, Caleigh’s pre-existing conditions are and will be covered. Prior to the law, if her family had to purchase private insurance, companies likely would have either completely denied her coverage, charged her astronomically high premiums, or excluded coverage for her most challenging conditions. Because of Obamacare, insurance companies will no longer be able to exclude Caleigh or the millions of other kids with pre-existing conditions.
What about when Caleigh grows up? Without the law, if she ever wanted to buy insurance of her own on the private market, she would almost surely have been denied coverage, or faced prohibitively high premiums because of her pre-exisiting conditions. Thanks to Obamacare, starting in January of 2014, insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against adults based on pre-existing conditions. (Also, Caleigh can stay on her parents plan until the age of 26. Thanks to, yeah, Obamacare.)
By the way, another thing: Any kid who’s had 16 surgeries starting at birth is very likely to have had Medicaid coverage at some point, whether SSI/disability or TEFRA-like coverage, if not full-on Medicaid/CHIP. If she did have private coverage, she probably met her annual or lifetime limits early on — but thanks to Obamacare those arbitrary limits are no longer allowed.
I wish we had a video of the meeting where this ad was conceived. I’m imagining AFP’s policy person suggesting that they show an affluent young man see a rise in premiums. Their marketing person interjects — “No, what we need is a sick kid.” Policy: “But Obamacare actually could help…” Marketing: “Doesn’t matter. Believe me. Just get me a cute kid with the word ‘Obamacare’ and we are golden.”
“There’s still lots of questions,” Renay says in the ad. “It’s way past time we get some answers.” I hope these help.