New anti-Pryor ad replaces debunked facts with feelings

WASHINGTON – Americans for Prosperity has changed up its air attack against Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., replacing an ad found wanting by fact checkers for its claim that Obamacare led to cancelled policies in the state.

The initial ad featured Wanda Buckley of Marion complaining that she had received a notice from her insurance provider that her policy would no longer be available because it did not meet basic requirements under the Affordable Care Act.

Blue Cross Blue Shield had sent the letter, but the Arkansas Insurance Department had already issued notice that individuals could keep policies through October 2017 even if they did not meet Obamacare standards.

The new ad features Buckley’s husband, Jerry, who now complains that Pryor has done nothing to clear up the confusion that exists over the law.

“It’s like living in a haze. You don’t know whether you are going to have insurance or whether you are going to be able to afford your insurance,” Buckley said in the ad. “I think the American people are tired of this constant angst, this constant crisis. They want certainty in their lives.”

Americans for Prosperity, which is tied to the billionaire Koch brothers, says it is spending $540,000 on the new ad campaign that is running on broadcast and cable stations across Arkansas.

“Instead of bringing Americans peace of mind about their health care, Obamacare is wreaking havoc on Americans from all walks of life. Jerry’s story is not unique,” says AFP President Tim Phillips. “It is disappointing that Senator Pryor has chosen – time and time again – to stand by a barely-functioning piece of legislation.”

Patrick Burgwinkle, a spokesman for the Democratic Party of Arkansas, said blame for any confusion over the Affordable Care Act rests with the Koch brothers.

“If Arkansans are confused, it’s because of out-of-state billionaires are pouring millions of dollars into misleading TV ads,” Burgwinkle said. “The Koch brothers are willing to spend millions of dollars to try and buy Congressman Cotton a Senate seat because they know he’ll be a reliable vote to turn Medicare into a voucher system, raise the eligibility to 70 and privatize Social Security.”

The Arkansas Insurance Department issued its bulletin after the Obama administration changed regulations to allow individuals to stay on non-compliant plans through October 2017. Blue Cross plans to use the extension to provide coverage in Arkansas and will notify customers as their policies come up for renewal, according to the Arkansas Times.

Adam Nicholson, a spokesman for AFP in Arkansas, defended the “Haze” ad as accurate.

“Jerry’s plan was canceled as a result of the new health care law. He first received notice that it was cancelled, then learned that it would remain active for now, but he has no certainty that it will continue,” Nicholson said. “It would be nice if Democrats would spend less time trying to explain away the problems faced by people suffering on account of Obamacare.”

Nicholson said that the Buckleys were not paid for appearing in the commercial.