Behold: A Positive, Storytelling Ad About Obamacare

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 2 2014 2:58 PM

Behold: A Positive, Storytelling Ad About Obamacare

A month ago, I asked why the millions of dollars of TV ads featuring people whose lives had been destroyed by Obamacare (well, as far as they were concerned) were being matched by zero dollars of positive ads. Where were the happy TV spots about people who suddenly had coverage?

Turns out that I just missed one that ran in Alaska, three weeks ago and three time zones away from the wise people of the Beltway. Put Alaska First PAC spent "a couple hundred thousand dollars" to run this spot, in which a cancer survivor thanks Sen. Mark Begich for his Obamacare vote. She used to be denied coverage, because of her pre-existing condition. Now she was secure.

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"Lisa Keller and I went to high school together," explained Put Alaska First's Jim Lottsfeldt when I called about the ad.* "I remember, a few years back, when she showed me her mastectomey scar and told me she couldn't get insurance. She was the world's fittest person, and she couldn't get covered! So back in October [2013], I asked if the ACA was doing anything for her. She said, 'Obamacare was designed for me.'" 

They filmed the ad in November, "sat on it for a while," and played it in Alaska through much of April. "It was very well-received," said Lottsfeldt. "It didn't hurt that David Axelrod was tweeting about it."

But had it resulted in any more positive stories?

"That's the conundrum," said Lottsfeldt. "I didn't go looking for it. I don't know if it's really hard or really easy, though I suspect there are stories like this everywhere."

*Correction, May 2, 2014: This post originally misspelled Jim Lottsfeldt's last name.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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