An organization trying to defeat the latest Republican attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act launched a new radio advertising campaign Friday pressuring five Republican senators to oppose a bill Senate GOP leaders are aiming to bring up next week.
Community Catalyst Action Fund, which bills itself as a consumer health organization, is spending close to $200,000 on the ads targeting Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), officials at the group told The Washington Post.
“There’s an old saying: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results,” says the narrator of the commercial. “Well, that’s what congressional leaders are doing right now — pushing another bad health care bill.”
Murkowski is seen by many Republicans as the most crucial senator in the current dynamic — one who could decide whether the effort succeeds or fails. She voted against the last repeal measure in July and has said she is seeking more data on how the current plan affects her state before she decides what to do.
Collins and McCain also voted against the July bill. Capito and Portman voted for it, but they expressed concerns about the measure in the run-up to that vote.
The current proposal, which was crafted by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), would turn funding for the ACA into block grants for states and, over time, sharply cut Medicaid spending. The ad mentions the Medicaid cuts, among other criticisms it raises about the proposal.
In an interview, Community Catalyst Action Fund executive director Robert Restuccia called the Cassidy-Graham bill "the worst of all the bills" the Republicans have proposed in their effort to undo the ACA. His group spent $1.5 million on a TV ad campaign during the summer opposing the GOP repeal push.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) intends to bring the Cassidy-Graham bill to the Senate floor next week, his office has said. But it remains unclear whether he will have the votes he needs to pass it.
In addition to airing in five states and calling out senators by name, a version of the Community Catalyst Action Fund commercial will air in the District.