After a number of ads run by the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity have been hammered for making false charges against Obamacare, the outfit has a new spot in Arkansas that offers a less-daring claim: A truck driver is confused about his insurance.
"It's like living in a haze," says Jerry Buckley in the ad, which AFP will spend $540,000 to run. "You don't know whether you're going to have insurance or whether you're going to be able to afford your insurance. It was taken away from us. Or it was given back to us," says Buckley, adding in apparent frustration, "We don't know what it's been now."
As Buckley notes, the Arkansas state insurance commissioner has announced that old plans like his that are not Obamacare-compliant can continue to be offered until 2017. So while Buckley says he hasn't received any letters from his insurer since one in October 2013 warned that his plan would be canceled, he might clear up his own confusion with a call to the company.
The Huffington Post wrote about the extension after Jerry's wife, Wanda Buckley, did a similar ad for AFP that was found to be misleading. In fact, while it is likely true that many people are still confused about the Affordable Care Act, Jerry Buckley has been engaged in trying to sort it out at least since October, when he took the trouble to post about his insurance woes on the campaign website of Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who is running against Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) this year.
The AFP ad is clearly targeting Pryor's reelection: It ends by urging viewers to tell the senator that Obamacare "hurts Arkansas families."
But in some ways, the spot might be good news for Pryor -- even though it brings AFP spending against him to about $2 million in 2014 alone -- because it suggests that the most damning charge against him currently is that a law he backed is causing some confusion. This isn't your death panel-level attack.
The ad does appear to contain one misleading statement. Buckley says "there's just a silence" from Pryor about Obamacare's implementation, but an Arkansas News story about his case describes Buckley's communications with Pryor's office on the subject.
“The Kochs are getting desperate,” said Pryor campaign spokesman Erik Dorey in a statement. “They’re throwing millions at Congressman Cotton to reward his reckless votes against Medicare, student loans and equal pay for women, but Arkansans just aren’t buying these misleading attacks.”
AFP President Tim Phillips sees it differently, of course.
"Instead of bringing peace of mind about health care, ObamaCare is wreaking havoc on Americans from all walks of life," Phillips said in the press release accompanying the ad. "Jerry's story is not unique; millions of Americans all across the country have been frustrated and let down by a law that was sold on a foundation of broken promises. It is disappointing that Senator Pryor has chosen -- time and time again -- to stand by a barely-functioning piece of legislation rather than the people of Arkansas he represents."
Watch the ad above.
Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.