A liberal group organized to protect the Affordable Care Act is targeting seven vulnerable House Republicans with television ads as they begin a two-week stint in their home districts.
Save My Care, backed by labor and progressive groups, is spending more than $1 million on spots that highlight the members’ support for the GOP health-care plan that now stands in limbo in the House, according to a person familiar with the plans who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private strategy.
The seven Republicans targeted — Reps. Mike Coffman (Colo.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Darrell Issa (Calif.), Tom MacArthur (N.J.), Brian Mast (Fla.), Martha McSally (Ariz.) and David Valadao (Calif.) — appear on lists of key districts targeted by Democrats in 2018. Coffman, Issa, MacArthur, Mast and McSally said they planned to support the American Health Care Act before it was pulled from the House floor last month; Curbelo and Valadao took no firm position.
One ad shared with The Washington Post, targeting Issa, highlights figures from a Congressional Budget Office report on an early version of the GOP bill, which predicted short-term premium increases and coverage losses reaching 24 million after 10 years. The ad also cites a “massive age tax” — a Democratic talking point that references the GOP bill’s effect on those between 50 and 64. Because of a combination of higher premiums and lower federal subsidies, Americans in that cohort could face yearly increases reaching well into the thousands of dollars, the CBO found.
“Tell Issa: Stop trying to repeal our health care,” the ad says.
Negotiations continue on the bill, but a latch-ditch flurry of talks last week led by Vice President Pence did not generate a breakthrough. Hard-line conservatives continue to press for provisions that would allow states to roll back ACA insurance mandates — including those meant to allow people with preexisting medical conditions to buy affordable coverage — but more moderate House Republicans have balked at those terms.
The disarray has put Democrats on offense over health care for the first time in eight years. But Jesse Hunt, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said GOP lawmakers need not be concerned about the ads.
“Far-left groups are desperate to provide air cover for House Democrats who share their love for Obamacare and will have to answer for it at the ballot box,” he said. “The law is an unmitigated disaster and the only alternative you hear Democrats discussing is a move toward single-payer.”
Recent opinion polls have found dismal public ratings for the GOP health-care bill, while the Affordable Care Act’s approval is at an all-time high, according to Gallup. But for a variety of reasons, Republicans are loath to give up efforts to repeal former president Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement — most important, out of fear of alienating a conservative base that has elected GOP lawmakers for seven years expecting them to repeal Obamacare.
Save My Care’s ads are targeting members in swing districts who could be especially sensitive to public opinion on Republicans’ health-care efforts.
“The best way to make sure the GOP doesn’t keep trying to repeal health care is to make sure their constituents know how damaging their plan really is,” the person familiar with the group’s plans said.