As Americans get ready to dole out scares and sweets for Thursday evening’s Halloween festivities, Obamacare opponents are taking advantage of the spooky season to do a little scaremongering of their own on the health reform law.
The biggest culprits are the political advocacy arm of the Heritage Foundation, Heritage Action, and the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP). Heritage Action is pushing an ad titled “What Do You Fear” that begins with a narrator ominously asking, “This Halloween, we want to know what really scares you. Monsters? Vampires? Ghosts? But what if your worst fears are real?” It then displays various negative news reports and late night show segments about the Affordable Care Act, the disastrous launch of the Healthcare.gov website, and easily-debunked “horror stories” about people losing their coverage thanks to the law:
AFP, which has already poured millions of dollars into Obamacare misinformation campaigns and plans to spend millions more, even launched a Halloween themed tour called “Obamascare: All Tricks And No Treats” in partnership with various conservative and Tea Party-affiliated groups. Its website describes the effort as “a conversation with business and community leaders discussing how the roll out of this big government power grab will affect your business, your family, and your future.”
That’s not even the most spine-tingling tactic being used by Obamacare critics to discredit the law: another Koch-affiliated group called Generation Opportunity recently released a special Halloween “horror” video for its “Creepy Uncle Sam” series — short ads that feature a person wearing a decidedly creepy Uncle Sam outfit and interfering with young Americans’ health care decisions in a variety of ways. Those videos are part of a broad effort to discourage young Americans for signing up for health insurance under the law.
At least one progressive group in Florida is fighting the misinformation with some horror stories of a different kind. Organize Now has put up their own video debunking many of AFP’s and Generation Opportunity’s most common distortions over the health law.
“There is nothing scarier than being sick and knowing you can’t afford to go to the doctor because politicians and their lobbyist friends would rather play partisan games than take care of their constituents,” said Paul Heroux, a member of the progressive group Organize Now, in an interview with Saint Peters Blog.
The original version of this post credited the “Creepy Uncle Sam” ad campaign to AFP. It is actually an effort by Generation Opportunity, a group that — while funded by the Koch brothers — is a separate entity from AFP.