Progressive activists are ready to inflict pain on Republicans who helped push the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill through the House last week.
Save My Care, a coalition of pro-Obamacare advocacy groups, is launching a $500,000-plus TV ad campaign in five congressional districts held by Republicans who backed the GOP plan, the American Health Care Act. The ads target Reps. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine), Don Young (R-Alaska), Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) and Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.).
The ad doesn’t mention Obamacare, but it accuses lawmakers of repealing "health care" and supporting a "disastrous" bill opposed by the American Medical Association, AARP and the American Cancer Society.
"McSally voted to raise your costs and cut coverage for millions, to let insurance companies deny affordable coverage for cancer treatment and maternity care, and charge 5 times more for people over 50," a male narrator says in an ad, which features images of distressed patients and doctors and an infant wearing an oxygen mask.
"McSally voted yes even though the bill makes coverage completely unaffordable to people with pre-existing conditions," the ad continues. "Congresswoman McSally, how could you do this to us?"
A digital version of the ads will target an additional 19 Republican lawmakers.
Republicans have been fending off charges that their bill — which now heads to the Senate, where it is likely to be substantially rewritten — undermines Obamacare’s guarantee of access to insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
The AHCA permits states to waive Obamacare’s prohibition on insurance companies charging higher premiums to sick patients, as well as the law’s mandatory minimum benefits. But only patients who drop coverage for more than two months would face higher charges. And in states that choose not to opt out, the Obamacare protections still apply.
Still, Republicans are facing blowback for pushing a measure through the House that fared poorly in public opinion polls and that the Congressional Budget Office estimated could result in 24 million more people going without insurance within a decade.
MacArthur, in particular, could be vulnerable to the advertising onslaught. He represents a swing district that President Donald Trump only narrowly captured. And it was MacArthur’s effort to salvage health care negotiations with conservatives — initially left for dead by many Republicans in the House — that helped revive the AHCA in April.
That’s made him a particularly attractive target for Democrats as they aim their fury at House members seen as vulnerable.
Save My Care also ran a round of television ads in seven competitive House districts in early April, primarily hitting Republicans hailing from districts won by Hillary Clinton in November. Those ads criticized Republicans for refusing to take a stand against the GOP’s bill at the time, when it appeared to be stalled and unlikely to come back.