Congress

Ad campaign targets moderate Republican senators in Obamacare battle

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, left, joins House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, following a closed-door meeting with the GOP caucus. Pence and Ryan promised repeal of President Obama's health care law now that the GOP is in charge of White House and Congress.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence, left, joins House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, following a closed-door meeting with the GOP caucus. Pence and Ryan promised repeal of President Obama's health care law now that the GOP is in charge of White House and Congress. AP

As Republicans gear up to tear down President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, Democrats and their allies are ramping up a counter offensive.

The Alliance for HealthcareSecurity, a coalition of unions and health care advocates, released a second round of television and digital ads Thursday that urge the Republican-led Congress to reconsider. The first ads ran in December.

The ads will air in Washington, D.C., and in Alaska, Arizona, Maine, Nevada, Tennessee and West Virginia, targeting moderate Republican senators in several of those states who may be leery of scrapping the Affordable Care Act without first ensuring a replacement.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who chairs the Senate health committee that will help with legislation, is among those who have expressed concern about repeal without replacement, calling in December for immediate repeal, “but to do it in a thoughtful, careful way that gives Americans more choices of low-cost insurance.”

The 30-second spots, which are part of a seven-figure ad buy, call repeal of the controversial health care plan a “partisan attack by Congress that will hurt us all” and encourage viewers to contact their members of Congress to protest.

“If Congress repeals health care, 30 million Americans will lose their insurance and coverage for all of us will be at risk,” the ads say. “Millions will be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies will hike premiums, sticking it to middle-class families.”

The alliance includes SEIU, Families USA, the National Partnership for Women and Families, and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Thursday that the legislative work to repeal and replace Obamacare will happen this year, but he could not provide details on how or when it would be replaced.

“Democrats, for ideological reasons, are trying to save their failing law which was an ideological pursuit,” Ryan said. “The law isn’t working. It is failing.”

The Senate began debate Wednesday on the first step of the repeal process. Passage is expected next week. If approved, as expected, by both houses of Congress, committees would have to come up with repeal details by Jan. 27.

Lesley Clark: 202-383-6054, @lesleyclark

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