Why did House Republicans try to repeal the Affordable Care Act 46 times, knowing their efforts would never translate into actual policy? The answer is simple: campaign ads, of course.
Americans For Prosperity, a right-wing non-profit group chaired by David Koch, is out with two attack ads in districts represented by vulnerable Democrats.
First, the group went after Congressman Rick Nolan (D) of Minnesota. “Obamacare is hurting Minnesotans,” the ad says. “And Congressman Rick Nolan voted to keep it.”
The ad uses the story of Randy Westby to prove the health care legislation is “hurting Minnesotans.” Westby suffers from heart attacks and lost his health insurance after the initial rollout of the Affordable Care Act, according to the ad.
Ironically, an argument can be made that people like Randy Westby stand to benefit the most from the law — people with pre-existing conditions — like suffering from heart attacks — can no longer be denied health coverage by insurance companies.
Before these ads were released, Congressman Nolan explained his position on the votes to repeal Obamacare on his website.
“Instead of passing a jobs bill, a budget solution, or reforming tax and trade policies that send American jobs overseas, House Republicans last week launched their 38th effort to repeal health care reform – this time by delaying it for a year,” Nolan wrote.
“I voted no. Americans have waited long enough for a decent measure of health care security,” he added. “Truth is, Obamacare is the first step – not the last step – in our nation’s quest for quality affordable health care.”
Americans for Prosperity also set their sights on Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) for “voting to keep” Obamacare. The ad features a woman spouting the hyperbolic talking points used by Republicans to link Democrats to the most unpopular aspects of the bill. “Millions of Americans have lost their health insurance,” says the woman in the commercial. “And millions are paying more, and getting less.”
The end of the ad is straight to the point: “Obamacare doesn’t work,” the actress says. “It just doesn’t work.” But, the ad makes no mention of the fact that the law has not taken effect yet, and therefore cannot be properly judged.
Like Representative Nolan, Congresswoman Kuster offered a statement on her website that explains her support of the Affordable Care Act, despite the frustrating rollout. She writes:
“The Affordable Care Act is not a perfect law and I am committed to improving it, but make no mistake: we cannot go back to the days when insurance companies were free to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions or drop people from their plans just because they get sick.”
So, despite 46 votes to repeal President Obama’s signature health care law, and the subsequent admission that repeal is “probably not realistic,” Republicans are betting it will be a decisive issue in the 2014 midterms.