The ad above has hit the airwaves in Alaska, where Sen. Mark Begich faces a tough re-election campaign in Alaska.
It’s well done. Millions of people have gained coverage because of the Affordable Care Act. The ad tells the story of one: Lisa Keller of Anchorage, a breast cancer survivor who was denied health insurance because of her pre-existing condition. “I now have health insurance again,” Keller says, “because of Mark Begich.”
And that’s really it, isn’t it? The 2013 status quo was a world in which insurance companies could discriminate against someone like Keller. It was a world in which millions of low-income people had to go without health insurance because they were poor. Here in Arkansas, that was people like Melissa Farrell and Charles Lott and Claudia Reynolds-LeBlanc and Rick Wells and Wendy Phillips and Jennifer Trader and Sherri Thomas and Hope Smith and Ellen Louise Fant and Anita Geiger and Amber Chote. Polls suggest that’s not a world people want to go back to.
Note also that unlike the awkward Americans for Prosperity ads which feature sympathetic people saying they’re “worried” even though the law would actually help them, the ad above makes sense. Obamacare really does offer help to the sickest and neediest among us. That’s part of what has led to the fact-checking trouble for AFP, I suspect. There really will be some people who end up paying more for insurance because of Obamacare (I might be one!). But healthy, relatively affluent people don’t make for great ads, leading AFP to take some leaps in their claims.
After AFP and others have done everything they can to make hay with Obamacare horror stories, it’s only natural that we’ll begin to see Obamacare success stories, like Lisa Keller in Anchorage. Or like Eleanor Evans in Rogers, Arkansas, who has gained coverage under the private option and, as it happens, used to go to church with Rep. Tom Cotton. Evans now is the primary caregiver for her mother Kaye, who happened to be Cotton’s pastor when Eleanor and Cotton were kids. “There’s no place for me if I don’t have this coverage,” Evans said. “And I don’t understand why they’d want to get rid of that place for me.
This is the tricky political reality in 2014 for Republicans hoping to run on repealing Obamacare: taking away the ACA now means taking people’s coverage away.