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Affordable Care Act

Health Law Foes Used FL as Lab

Tim_Phillips_of_Americans_for_PRosperity.jpg
AP

Tampa Bay residents still recovering from the onslaught of anti-Obamacare campaign ads from the recent election may better understand why they feel shell-shocked after reading an article from The New York Times.

Americans for Prosperity, a super-conservative group funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers, decided to  make Congressional District 13 in Florida a testing ground.  

The Times reports that AFP used data and focus groups in the district to fine-tune messages against the Affordable Care Act,  to build strength toward AFP’s ultimate goal: persuading Americans that government is inept, so it should be kept weak and small.

After President Obama’s re-election in 2012, AFP changed its strategy to hire actors to tell emotional stories about the law’s failure.  The group did not modify its messages when fact-check groups called them  into question.

In the end, Republican David Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink.

In a fund-raising visit to Miami Thursday, President Obama alluded to the campaign, The Miami Herald reports, saying: “I know there are a lot of TV ads around that don’t always accurately reflect what’s going on.”