Americans for Prosperity takes to airwaves with ad attacking Jack Conway, Affordable Care Act

08/31/2015 04:46 PM

The political 501(c )(4) group Americans for Prosperity is jumping into the fall election cycle with an ad attempting to tie Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jack Conway to President Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act.

The ad, first reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader, launched Monday in what AFP told the newspaper is a “hefty” six-figure ad buy. AFP is supported by the billionaire ultra-conservative Koch brothers.

“Jack Conway chose Washington insiders over Kentucky families when he decided not to take Obamacare to court — now we are yolked with double-digit premium increases and thousands of lost jobs,” Julia Crigler, state director of Americans for Prosperity Kentucky, said in a press release. “Kentuckians want affordable, accessible healthcare and rather than listen to our families career-politicians have doubled-down on government-controlled healthcare.”

Former Courier Journal political reporter Al Cross quickly disassembled the ad in a blog post for Kentucky Health News saying the ad, which blames the Affordable Care Act for a “crisis in hospitals,” is “not true, according to the hospitals themselves.”

Cross says that employment in healthcare in Kentucky is up, but that hospitals have cut employees in the last several years. However, Cross writes that the Obama administration’s signature health law is not entirely at fault for the hospitals’ actions:

Most of the hospitals’ layoffs have not been a result of Obamacare, but “a changing scene in health care, with more focus on the outpatient area,” which started long before the law took effect, KHA President Michael Rust said this month. One of the law’s aims is to further reduce expensive use of hospitals, which Americans and especially Kentuckians use too much.

Watch the full Americans for Prosperity ad here:

The Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion have played a starring role in the campaign of Republican gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin. Bevin has said that if elected he would dismantle the state’s healthcare exchange, kynect, because of the costs of the program.

However, as Cross pointed out in a separate post in June, “Kynect is paid for by insurance companies that sell policies in Kentucky.”

Bevin has also been critical of the expansion of Medicaid in Kentucky. Citing an independent report commissioned by his administration, Gov. Steve Beshear said his decision to expand Medicaid eligibility will create some 40,000 jobs and add an estimated $30 billion to the state’s economy through fiscal year 2021, Beshear announced at a news conference in February.

Currently the federal government is paying for the full freight of the expansion, but come 2017 the state will begin to pay a portion of the costs.

Deloitte Consulting and the University of Louisville Urban Studies Institute’s report on expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act found the state would pay an estimated $247.6 million in the 2017-18 biennium to cover the newly eligible Medicaid recipients, but those costs would be offset by $511.8 million in anticipated savings and an increase in healthcare jobs.

Bevin has referred to the report as “nonsense.” Conway has said if elected he would continue the exchange and Medicaid expansion and has called Bevin’s opposition to the law “callous.”


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