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York: Here’s some ammo for anti-Obamacare ads

Published: Friday, April 11, 2014 9:42 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, April 11, 2014 9:46 p.m. CDT

Some conservative political groups have run into trouble making ads that criticize Obamacare. The ads were intended to showcase “horror stories” from the Democrats’ national health care overhaul.

The most striking example is a recent ad from Americans for Prosperity, the organization backed by Charles and David Koch, the conservative businessmen-philanthropists who have emerged as this year’s Target No. 1 for Democrats. The ad featured a Michigan woman, Julie Boonstra, who said she had been diagnosed with leukemia and given a 20 percent chance of surviving.

At least, before Obamacare. “I was doing fairly well fighting cancer,” Boonstra said in the ad, “fighting the leukemia, and then I received the letter. Now, the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it’s unaffordable. If I do not receive my medication, I will die. I believed the president. I believed I could keep my health insurance plan. I feel lied to. It’s heartbreaking for me.”

After the commercial aired, fact-checkers noted that under a new policy available to her through Obamacare, Boonstra would actually have lower premiums. Boonstra countered that out-of-pocket costs – her original complaint – can be incurred quite quickly if she were to need a lot of care.

So here is a suggestion, free of charge, for Americans for Prosperity: Make a few anti-Obamacare ads with factual claims taken entirely from the pages of The New York Times.

The Kochs could start with a recent op-ed by a man named Eric Wee, who just happens to be a former Washington Post reporter. Wee supported Obamacare when it was passed, he explained, but said: “What I didn’t count on was that it would make things harder for me and my wife.”

The couple’s $263-a-month coverage was canceled because it didn’t conform to Obamacare requirements.

“Let’s not pretend that this new policy is the affordable health care savior that many of us were hoping for,” Wee concludes. “For us, our new plan is a big financial hit for a product that does not make it any easier to get basic health care.”

It’s a perfect Koch Obamacare ad: Concise, meaningful and vetted by The New York Times.

In making ads, some conservatives have tried to swing for the fences, searching for cases of spectacular suffering to illustrate Obamacare’s damage. But what about focusing on the heavy, if ordinary, burdens the new system is placing on people like Eric Wee and millions of other Americans?

The material is there for the Kochs to use – right in the pages of The New York Times.

• Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.

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