Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), who is up against three Republican challengers for her seat in Louisiana, is facing renewed attacks this week over her support for the Affordable Care Act. The Koch-backed group Americans for Prosperity is out with a new ad featuring several people — who appear to be Louisiana residents — receiving notices in the mail that their insurance plans have been cancelled thanks to Obamacare. “Send Senator Landrieu a message: Obamacare is hurting Louisiana families,” the ad concludes.
But the people featured in the hard-hitting ad aren’t actually Louisiana residents at all. In reality, they’re paid actors hired by the right-wing group.
“Hiring professional actors to impersonate Louisiana families is low even for the billionaire Koch brothers,” the senator’s campaign manager, Adam Sullivan, told ABC News.
Over the past several months, Obamacare opponents have consistently struggled to find credible spokespeople for attacks on the health law, particularly in regards to the claim that Americans are unhappy with the fact that their existing policies are getting canceled. This past fall, the media profiled dozens of people who claimed that the federal health law was forcing them to purchase an expensive new plan — but most of those Obamacare “horror stories” were quickly debunked.
In reality, Obamacare is transforming the individual insurance market to prevent insurers from offering skimpy plans that don’t meet a minimum standard of coverage. Some of the people featured in the “horror stories” actually changed their tune once they realized how the health law’s new requirements could benefit them.
But Americans for Prosperity is sticking by its new ad. “I think the viewing public is savvy enough to distinguish between someone giving a personal story and something that is emblematic,” the group’s spokesperson told ABC News.
Indeed, it’s a not new tactic. The Koch-backed organization, which has poured millions into a misinformation campaign against health reform over the past several months, also hired a paid actress from Maryland to star in an anti-Obamacare ad targeted at Alaska residents.
In Louisiana, nearly 33,000 people had enrolled in new Obamacare plans by the end of January, according to the latest available data from the Health and Human Services Department. About 27 percent of the people enrolling in new plans are young people between the ages of 18 and 34, on par with the national average.