Attack ads pressure GOP senators on health care bill

Taylor Rogers
A screengrab of an ad released by Save My Care targeting Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

Amid increasing uncertainty that Senate Republicans will be able to pass their health care bill before the July 4 recess, numerous super-PACs and advocacy groups have taken it upon themselves to run attack ads to sway the vote.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., became a target of the pro-Trump Super PAC America First Policies’ newly announced ad campaign after he publicly announced Friday that he did not support the bill.

“Heller is now standing with Pelosi,” the ad says. “Unacceptable! If you are opposed to this bill, we are opposed to you.”

Heller is one of five GOP senators who have said they oppose the current version of the legislation, but others are also apparently being targeted. On the other side of the divide, the Association for Community Affiliated Plans says it is pushing senators to oppose the bill’s Medicaid cuts.

Its ads — which the group says will air in Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana and Nevada — demand that Sens. Heller, Shelley Moore Capito, R-W. Va., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., consider the economic effects of scaling back their states’ Medicaid expansions.

CNN also reported that the Democratic group Save My Care launched a spot costing seven figures that targets potentially wavering senators.

“Now Murkowski’s a deciding vote on a health care bill that hurts Alaskans the most, increasing our costs more than any other state,” says an ad targeting Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. “Senator Murkowski, don’t break your promise.”

“Cutting Medicaid will put millions of jobs at risk,” states one ad airing in West Virginia. “Tell D.C. politicians not to forget about us, because Medicaid is us.”

The West Virginia ad, released by the Association for Community Affiliated Plans and aimed at Capito, tells the stories of Americans covered by Medicaid, including that of a young woman named Sue who uses the coverage to manage her diabetes.

AARP also announced that it plans to air television spots aimed at 11 Republican senators. The ads criticize the bill’s removal of Obamacare tax credits for senior citizens.

“Our members and other Americans over age 50 are very worried about legislation that would raise their premiums through what is, in effect, an age tax, weaken Medicare, undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and make changes to Medicaid that would put some of our most vulnerable citizens at risk,” AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond said in a statement on the group’s website.

Of the 11 senators targeted, only three are up for reelection in 2018: Flake, Heller and Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

 

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