The stupidest anti-Obamacare campaign ever

Conservative group's campaign to weaken Obamacare is practically designed to backfire. Have a listen

Published August 15, 2013 9:41PM (EDT)

We've known for a few weeks now that conservative groups are attempting to sabotage Obamacare by planning and staging campaigns to dissuade young people and families from enrolling in state insurance exchanges.

Via Greg Sargent, these efforts include a new radio spot from the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, and the good news is that in addition to being heartless and cruel, it's also incredibly stupid.

“Two years ago, my son Caleb began having seizures … if we can’t pick our own doctor, how do I know my family is going to get the care they need?”

Set aside for a moment that the one factual claim about the law in that quote -- "we can't pick our own doctor" -- is false, and will be false until the president of Kaiser Permanente hypnotizes all of Washington and persuades Congress to ban PPOs. Set aside too that the single most well known and well liked provision of the Affordable Care Act is the one banning insurance companies from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions. That's the reason Caleb will never have to worry about being locked out of coverage for the rest of his life.

What AFP has done here, perhaps unwittingly, is produce an ad designed to dissuade sick people, and families with sick people in them, from enrolling in Obamacare. Obviously I hope it fails to convince anyone, because I don't like it when sick people suffer and die. But do note the irony that the more "successful" the ad is, the "better" it is for Obamacare. The big danger for Obamacare is that too many sick people and not enough healthy people will enroll, sending premiums unsustainably skyward.

That's obviously not what AFP intended but it's the inevitable consequence of a campaign designed to prey upon the fears of highly vulnerable people, who are, of course, the ones the law is designed to help.

By Brian Beutler

Brian Beutler is Salon's political writer. Email him at and follow him on Twitter at @brianbeutler.

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