With 2 million Americans enrolled in the new health-care insurance exchanges, the president’s signature program would appear to be off to a rebounding start — following a disastrous roll-out.
Yet the political war of 2014 is just getting underway.
As the vacationing President Barack Obama touts the Affordable Care Act as a lifeline for the millions of Americans who have lacked health insurance, opponents are targeting members of his party and supporters of that plan known as “Obamacare” perceived as vulnerable in November’s midterm congressional elections.
I signed the ACA for kids like Marcelas Owens. He lost his mom bc she couldn’t afford coverage. Today millions of Americans finally can. -bo
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 1, 2014
(The ”bo” signature indicates the president tweeted it.)
Americans for Prosperity, the nonprofit partially funded by billionaire energy executives Charles and David Koch, says today it is rolling out a “seven-figure” ad campaign against Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. This follows a $16 million campaign targeting vulnerable Democrats last fall, as the president’s health-care program was in the midst of its “fumbled” rollout (Obama’s term).
The last round of ads in late November targeted Landrieu, Hagan, Alaska’s Sen. Mark Begich and Florida Reps. Patrick Murphy and Joe Garcia, and Arizona Rep. Ron Barber.
AFP is focusing on that promise the president made during the passage of the 2010 law that Americans would be able to keep their existing insurance plans if they preferred.
That hasn’t been the case for a small share of the insured, as millions of policies were cancelled because they didn’t meet the standards of coverage under the new law — preventative care and maternity coverage and the like. Obama in November apologized for the situation.
Landrieu and other Democrats bracing for tough re-election battles have pressured the White House to make fixes to the health-care law, anticipating ads like the ones put out by the AFP.
AFP, one of the most politically active Republican-aligned nonprofits, spent $122 million in 2012 as it worked to stop the re-election of Obama and promote Republican congressional candidates. The group was co-founded a decade ago by the Koch brothers, billionaire industrialists and small-government advocates and among the sixth and seventh richest people in the world, and as a nonprofit is not legally required to disclose its donors.
“President Obama repeatedly promised Americans that they could keep their current health care plans and doctors if they chose, but millions have found out the hard way that this was the Lie of the Year,” AFP President Tim Phillips said in a statement released today.
“We’re putting pressure on senators who repeated that lie and doubled down on Obamacare even as it became obvious that the law was hurting millions of Americans. The story of ObamaCare is one of less choice, rising premiums, and broken promises. AFP is committed to a long-term effort to stop this law.”
As Republicans attempt to keep Obamacare a part of the 2014 congressional campaign dynamic, the party is focused on regaining control of the Senate in November — something which the Cook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy has given a “25 percent chance.”
Here are the ads targeting Shaheen, Hagen and Landrieu which AFP says will get a multimillion-dollar, three-week run:
— Written with Mark Silva