GOP Outside Group Pressures Vulnerable Members on Health Care Plan

American Action Network has now spent $10 million on repeal and replace campaigns

American Action Network is running ads in California Rep. David Valadao's district encouraging him to keep his promise to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The day after the Congressional Budget Office announced 14 million more Americans would be uninsured under House GOP leadership’s health care plan by 2018, a major ally of leadership is hitting the airwaves to defend the plan and the members it needs to back it. 

American Action Network is launching $1.5 million in TV ads Tuesday that will air nationally on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and in 15 congressional districts across the country, about half of which Hillary Clinton won last fall. 

This latest spending brings the issue advocacy organization’s total spending on advertising campaigns to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law to $10 million across 75 congressional districts. 

The 15 Republicans named in Tuesday’s blitz, which will run for two weeks, are mostly Democratic targets in 2018, as well as a few members of leadership like Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady.

The vulnerable members include California Reps. Jeff Denham, David Valadao and Darrell Issa, Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo, Iowa Reps. Rod Blum and David Young, Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon, Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Texas Rep. Will Hurd and Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock.

Issa said Monday that he is “not prepared” to vote for the GOP plan in its current form, while some others are still reviewing the plan in which cuts to Medicaid expansion may be making their constituents anxious about lost coverage. 

The AAN ads encourage these members to honor their commitment to repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law. 

“This is a historic opportunity to reverse the trajectory of health care in our country. Many conservative lawmakers are fighting for strong, conservative solutions to the Affordable Care Act that has failed and will only get worse unless Congress passes the American Health Care Act,” AAN Executive Director Corry Bliss said in a statement. 

“Republicans are keeping their promise,“ the national ad begins, before describing the GOP plan as one that delivers “more choices and lower costs“ without “job-killing mandates.”

Each spot ends by asking viewers to thank individual members: “Thank Congresswoman Barbara Comstock for keeping her promise and replacing the Affordable Care Act with the better health care you deserve.”

While this campaign targets some more moderate members of the conference, AAN has previously targeted a different group of Republicans who don’t think the GOP health care plan goes far enough. Last week, ANN began an ad campaign that urges members of the conservative Freedom and Liberty Caucuses to “vote with President Trump” on the legislation. 

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