Meet Your Next Obamacare Victim: Confused Arkansas Guy

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 1 2014 10:03 AM

Meet Your Next Obamacare Victim: Confused Arkansas Guy

Arkansas is simultaneously the most fertile and most treacherous ground for a political campaign against Obamacare. Fertile, because the state's rapid sprint away from conservative Democrats and toward conservative Republicans makes it pretty easy to beat up Democrats like Sen. Mark Pryor. Treacherous, because the state's Republican legislature has pioneered and continued a "private option" for Medicaid expansion, cleaving the Tea Party (Americans for Prosperity, et al.) from the Chamber of Commerce, and preventing the state from joining the larger Obamacare rebellion. (Luckily, as Republicans are finding in West Virginia and Kentucky, Republican voters don't change overnight simply because they can access health insurance.)

So: For a while, Americans for Prosperity was drenching Arkansas in ads that told the story of a woman whose health insurance had been canceled by the coverage mandates of the ACA. Democrats and liberal groups cried havoc—the state had actually extended the life of such plans until 2017. What was AFP to do? Sink six figures into this ad.

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Jerry's problem is not that his plan has been canceled, per se. It's that the fate of the plan is lost in confusion. "It was taken away from us, or it was given back to us, or it was taken," he says, exasperated. These AFP ads are designed to have long tails, as liberals criticize them and smear the humans who appear in them. A guy who's confused about Obamacare? That could be me!

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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