Any publicity is good publicity

TPM is passing along an interesting study from Brookings that is dripping in schradenfreude:

In fact, after controlling for other state characteristics such as low per capita income population and average insurance premiums, I observe a positive association between the anti-ACA spending and ACA enrollment. This implies that anti-ACA ads may unintentionally increase the public awareness about the existence of a governmentally subsidized service and its benefits for the uninsured.

I think this is a case of trying not to think about the elephant after being told about the elephant.  People in states that were getting Koch bombed, knew about the Exchanges, knew they existed and could do something about that, while people in states where the Kochs weren’t trying to block access to affordable, subsidized private market health insurance (doesn’t that sound absurd when it is put that way), awareness was lower as they were never told to not think about the elephant. 


36 replies
  1. 1
    MattR says:

    I think that makes sense, but I am having trouble concentrating with the elephant wandering through my thoughts.

  2. 2

    I suspect this is a case of a correlation that isn’t statistically significant. The data is noisy as hell, and the overall trend depends heavily on a handful of states with very high spending levels, and isn’t practically significant in any case.

  3. 3

    We get elephants too? Okay, I like elephants as much as the next person-who-has-nothing-against-elephants-because-hey-what-have-elephants-ever-done-to-me. But I don’t have room for them. And how much do they eat in a day? What do they eat? Are they going to wreck my lawn? Spray water all over the house with their trunks? What about the smell? Christ, WTF am I supposed to do with elephants? Damn you Obama!

    (And yeah, a whole lot o’ schadenfreude.)

  4. 4
    NorthLeft12 says:

    I have no doubt that this was the intention of the Koch’s all along. I believe if you watch their ads in reverse you can hear the brothers Koch singing “We grok social something something [unintelligible].”

    Seems pretty clear cut to me.They are philanthropists after all, right?

  5. 5
    Francis says:

    I try to avoid hating people. It’s exhausting, among other things.

    But I truly deeply hate all the SOBs who try to persuade poor people to reject health benefits.

    Really, wtf is wrong with these people?

  6. 6
    Amir Khalid says:

    Tsk, tsk. This information should not have been publicised. Now someone will know to stop the counterproductive anti-Obamacare ad campaign. This will result in Obamacare opponents not wasting their money and efforts.

  7. 7
    BGinCHI says:

    Trying to deny millions of people a basic human service is pretty soon going to seem like one of the craziest, meanest things a group of people have ever done in this country.

    When are we going to find out that conservatism is a mental illness?

  8. 8
    cleek says:

    i’ve started seeing “We’re Koch!” TV ads. they talk about all the awesome industries Koch occupies, without saying the name of a single brand (they show a couple of logos, tho).

    someone thinks their brand is in need of repair.

  9. 9
    Mnemosyne says:


    People do weird shit. I ran across a really sad story a few months back about a woman who was an AIDS denialist even though she herself had been diagnosed as HIV+. First her young daughter died of a mysterious illness that totally was not AIDS, you guys! and then she herself died, also of causes that were only mysterious if you were an AIDS denialist.

    So some people can maintain their denial not only past their child’s death, but up to and including their own terminal illness.

  10. 10
    KG says:

    @Karen in GA: you can get a little white one… they eat peanuts, and will keep your lawn fertilized and power spray clean your house. plus, when your neighbor pisses you off, you have an elephant you can ride into their house to settle the issue. i don’t see any side of this that is a loser.

  11. 11
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    one of the craziest, meanest things

    It’s what they do. Witness, current Noisemax “poll”:

    Should Obama Deport Illegal Children? Vote Here Now

  12. 12
    Chyron HR says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Should Obama Deport Illegal Children?

    Sure, we’ll start with the whole quiverfull of Dugglets, and then if we have time, expel some of the Palin brood.

  13. 13
    BGinCHI says:

    @Mnemosyne: That’s some fucked up shit. What a world.

  14. 14
    BGinCHI says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: If they ripped off their heads and turned out to be aliens I would not be one bit surprised. It would actually explain a lot of things.

  15. 15
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    @cleek: I wish they would make vacuums, just to see their ads touting these Koch Suckers.

  16. 16
    NCSteve says:

    I think this is a case of trying not to think about the elephant after being told about the elephant.

    I’ve always wondered how the Ghostbusters ended up with a Destructor in the form of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man rather than J. Edgar Hoover.

  17. 17
    Bobby B. says:

    Places are not Koch-bombed, they are fertilized, and fertilizer is spread where it is deemed to bear fruit.

  18. 18
    David Koch says:

    It’s kind of like when you go to the movies and one of the lead characters smokes through out the film, you start jonesing for a cigarette.

  19. 19
    MCA1 says:

    @David Koch: That explains why I used to be drunk after every session of Mad Men watching that lasted more than a single episode.

  20. 20
    MCA1 says:

    @Amir Khalid: Snark aside, it would be nice if a greater percentage of the people actually purchasing insurance through the exchanges didn’t also believe that the very existence of them was an evil liberal takeover plot and totally perpetuating the mooching takerism running rampant through ‘Murika but, hey, it’s there and I’d be stupid not to take advantage too even though I’m not in the 47%. Which might happen if there’s less villification going on in the media. There’d also be less of the ingrained “It’s a failure and Obama’s a failure and we’re China now” pessimistic boohoo emotive reaction to the mere mention of the ACA in the 75% of the population under employer-issued coverage.

  21. 21
    Joel says:

    @Roger Moore: I agree with your interpretation. The correlation looks very weak. But that could be interpreted as meaning that the Kochs burned a shitload of money for nothing. Good job, good effort.

  22. 22
    MomSense says:

    I’ve met so many people who didn’t even try to sign up for health care because they had “heard” it was terrible and they would never be able to afford it. It is so frustrating and sad.

    On the good news/bad news front, a friend of mine had a major cardiac “event” which landed her in the ICU, then a lengthy hospital stay, and has required several surgeries with another to follow on Monday. She told me that she hadn’t had health insurance in 10 years and signed up on the exchange as soon as it was available. She is receiving her statements from the hospitals and other providers and just one night at the first hospital was over $20,000. On top of the fact that she is still alive and receiving excellent care (!!!) she is not going to go bankrupt or be denied treatment.

  23. 23
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Should Obama Deport Illegal Children?

    Define “illegal children.” Are they asking about the kids crossing the border from Honduras and Guatemala, or the totally unpredictable consequences of the anti-choicers’ war on uteri? (/snark)

    @Amir Khalid: Reichwingers don’t read TPM Brookings studies Pravda on principle. So we’re safe – at least until Heritage does some unskewed analysis (assuming of course that epistemic closure doesn’t bring Heritage to the conclusion that all that expenditure was totally effective in making public what a complete failure Obummercare is).

  24. 24
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Chyron HR: That’s not deportation; that’s pest control.

  25. 25

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Should Obama Deport Illegal Children?

    What exactly is an illegal child? Do you need a license to have one these days?

  26. 26
    Gravenstone says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’ll admit that I initially misread that as an “AIDS dentist”. And I thought that was incredibly noble of someone to work on such an at risk population. Needs moar caffeine.

  27. 27


    But that could be interpreted as meaning that the Kochs burned a shitload of money for nothing.

    I don’t think you can look at that chart and say that the Koch Brothers got any kind of value for their money. There should be some kind of depression in enrollment in places where they spent a lot of money, but there’s no sign of it. Not a lot better for them than their spending on the 2012 election.

  28. 28
    Fred says:

    @Gravenstone: DYSLEXICS UNTIE!!!

  29. 29
    Calouste says:


    one of the craziest, meanest things a group of people have ever done in this country.

    Slavery, genocide, lynching, multiple wars of choice, supporting murdering dictators, disposing democratically elected governments, systematic exclusion and persecution of minority groups…, denying universal health insurance doesn’t even make it into the top 20 of mean and crazy things the US has done. Unless you’re talking about things being done to white Americans.

  30. 30
    aimai says:

    @Mnemosyne: Actually, I’d think denial would be even easier in those cases. Sincerely. I think some things are just too awful to contemplate.

  31. 31
    WereBear says:

    @MomSense: On top of the fact that she is still alive and receiving excellent care (!!!) she is not going to go bankrupt or be denied treatment.

    Wow. It’s hard to say she was lucky, but I’m glad she doesn’t have horrible money worries on top of all her other troubles.

  32. 32
    Ruckus says:

    They didn’t burn up a shitload of money. Not from their viewpoint. What they have spent is pocket change for them. For me I think if I added up the lifetime income of everyone I’ve known(going to leave out the one member of the Ford car family) it wouldn’t add up to how much but that’s me.

  33. 33
    Ruckus says:

    You know we keep saying that all these people vote against their interests but I wonder how true that really is. The people signing up for the ACA may be doing that but I’d like to have some idea if this is really true. Voter turnout is pretty low, normally, how many of the people that the ACA allowed to purchase insurance or get Medicaid actually did vote? We don’t know. How many of them are poor and work the crap jobs, having little time to vote? I’ve lived in more rural parts of the country, SC for one, and seen how hard some people have to work just to exist, let alone take time off to vote. Maybe the people who benefited the most from the ACA are voting against their interests but we really don’t know that. Look how many votes were cast for President Obama in areas that are typically R+.

  34. 34
    Ruckus says:

    Have a friend who prior to the ACA went from a nice 6 figure salary to SSI in short order due to cancer. Sister died from breast cancer in part because she had no insurance and didn’t catch it soon enough.
    Yeah the conservative idea that the ACA is the worst thing in the world just stuns me. How fucking stupid do you have to be to think this? Actually I know the answer as a number of my FB “acquaintances” think that the current president is the worst ever and the ACA is the worst thing ever. I may end up with about 3 friends from 30 years of my sports hobby. Already lost quite a few.

  35. 35
    Nikki says:

    @cleek: Good! Let’s everyone know which brands they can avoid.

  36. 36
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Please copy edit the hell out of your future posts, no matter the length. Everyone here knows this is a really nice post from me. Y’all have fun now.

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