The Tea Party group Americans for Prosperity has now released its factual documentation for its misleading ad featuring Julie Boonstra, a Michigan woman stricken with Leukemia who suggests Obamacare forced her to take on a new plan that is now “unaffordable.” The ad has been widely pilloried ever since Glenn Kessler discovered that her premiums had come down, likely making her overall costs a wash or even cheaper. Gary Peters, the Dem candidate for Senate in Michigan, had written to TV stations insisting on documentation.
The documentation provided by AFP, which was passed along from TV stations by the Peters campaign, doesn’t actually back up the ad’s key claim. But it tells us something interesting about how the AFP campaign — and by extension, the broader GOP strategy against Obamacare — really work.
To buttress the ad’s charge that Boonstra’s “out of pocket charges are so high, it’s unaffordable,” AFP cites a single Politico article reporting that “consumers may have to dig a little deeper into their wallets to pay for health care in the Obamacare insurance exchanges,” because the law could mean additional out of pocket expenses. Needless to say, that doesn’t shed light on Boonstra’s individual situation.
And on that front, AFP’s documentation offers this (emphasis mine):
[I]t has been widely reported that consumers are facing higher out-of-pocket costs due to the Affordable Care Act. Julie Boonstra is one individual whose old insurance plan was deemed illegal under Obamacare, forcing her to find other coverage options. She has made a reasonable judgment that the unexpected, unpredictable out-of-pocket costs associated with her new health care plan are unaffordable.
Note the sleight of hand here: AFP now claims the ad says her out of pocket costs are unaffordable, and defends that assertion. But the original ad was clearly designed to leave the impression that her overall plan is now unaffordable, thanks to Obamacare. AFP’s documentation doesn’t try to defend that claim. Indeed, the documentation doesn’t even engage on the fact that her premiums fell, making overall costs a wash. Instead, AFP is now implicitly abandoning the core premise of its own ad.
This is in keeping with the new ads AFP is now running in New Hampshire, which no longer make a claim about the overall impact of the law on its victims, carefully skirting the problem that got AFP pilloried over the Boonstra ad.
Wingnuts are spamming this story all over Teh Twitters, accusing Gary Peters (who is the Congressional rep for my district) of waging HURR HURR!!!! THIS IS TEH REALS WAR ON TEH WIMMENZ!!!!!11!!!