GOP group launches ad blitz attacking single-payer health care ahead of first Democratic debates

A GOP-aligned group is launching a massive ad campaign targeting single-payer health care, a national effort designed to undercut the proposed program’s popularity as it gains some support within the Democratic Party.

One Nation, a non-profit political advocacy group, will make an initial $4 million investment in the campaign, which is slated to begin Friday and will air heavily around next week’s first Democratic presidential primary debates in Miami.

And the original round of TV, radio, and digital ads is just the beginning, according to a spokesman for the group, who said One Nation plans to spend more money criticizing Medicare for All plans than any other organization.

The group’s first ad emphasizes what is says are long wait times experienced by patients in other countries with socialized medicine, a problem it says is exacerbated because private insurance is made illegal.

“How long will you wait for care?” a narrator in the ads says. “In other countries with socialized health care, patients wait weeks, even months for treatment.”

Single-payer health care has become a mainstream idea within the Democratic Party since 2017, with many of its leading presidential candidates -- like Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren -- proposing to implement the system if elected.

Since it is a non-profit, 501(c)4 organization, One Nation is not required to disclose its donors. The group is led by Republican strategists with ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Alex Roarty has written about the Democratic Party since joining McClatchy in 2017. He’s been a campaigns reporter in Washington since 2010, after covering politics and state government in Pennsylvania during former Gov. Ed Rendell’s second term.