Health and Science

Ad campaign rolls out, blasting 24 House Republicans for Obamacare-replacement bill vote

Key Points
  • The American Health Care Act could lead to 24 million more people becoming uninsured
  • A provision that could let insurers charge sick people more is widely opposed by the public.
  • Most House Republicans are not holding town halls on the heels of voting for the bill.
Fixing America's health-care system
Fixing America's health-care system

You voted for it, you'll hear about it.

Twenty-four House Republicans who voted last week for the controversial Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill are being targeted by a television and digital ad campaign heavily criticizing their support of the legislation.

The campaign was announced Monday by Save My Care, a leading Obamacare advocacy group, which is airing the ads in each of the representatives' districts.

The ads identify each member by name and say they "voted to raise your costs and cut coverage for millions, to let insurance companies deny unaffordable coverage for cancer treatment and maternity care, and charge five times more for people over 50."

Save My Care's six-figure ad buy campaign comes four days after the Republican-controlled House, by a single-vote margin, passed the GOP's American Health Care Act, which would replace key parts of the Affordable Care Act.

President Donald Trump looks to House Speaker Paul Ryan and other House congressmen in the Rose Garden after the House passed a health care bill, at the White House in Washington, DC, May 04, 2017.
Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images

All but 20 Republican representatives voted for the bill, which received no support from Democratic representatives.

An earlier version of the bill, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, would lead to 24 million more people becoming uninsured by 2026 if the bill were to be signed into law than would be the case if Obamacare remains intact.

The bill also is expected to cause premiums for individual health plans to spike up to 20 percent higher in the next two years than if the ACA is kept in place.

The bill was later amended to allow states to ask for a waiver that could let insurers charge people with pre-existing health conditions more than healthier people. That version has not yet been scored by the CBO.

A version of the ad running in Arizona's 2nd Congressional district tells constituents of Rep. Martha McSally that "McSally voted yes even though the bill makes coverage completely unaffordable to people with pre-existing conditions."

"Congresswoman McSally — how could you do this to us?" the ad concludes.

CNBC has reached out to McSally's spokeswoman for comment.

Another House member targeted by the ads is Rep. Thomas MacArthur, R-N.J., a leading moderate who negotiated with leaders of conservative Freedom Caucus to include the pre-existing condition waiver amendment in the bill.

MacArthur's spokeswoman, in an email to CNBC, said: "Congressman MacArthur has been at the forefront of reforming our broken health-care system because the current system is on the brink of collapse. His efforts will lower health-care costs and protect those with pre-existing conditions, while providing real tax relief for middle-classs families."

"Big money liberal interest groups, like Save my Care, are intentionally peddling lies and using scare tactics to simply push a political agenda, instead of working to address critical issues facing the nation," said the spokeswoman, Camille Gallo.

The American Health Care Act has been broadly unpopular with the general public, attracting support from just 17 percent of people polled in a Quinnipiac University survey done on an earlier version of the bill.

An ABC-Washington Post poll released in late April found that 70 percent of the public believed that insurers should not be allowed in any state to charge customers more if they have pre-existing conditions.

It is by no means clear that the Senate will approve all or much of the House's bill. Some senators have said they will write their own bill.

On Monday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said on Fox Business, referring to the Senate: "They are their own legislative body. I have no problems if they write their own bill. If it took the House passing a bill to get them moving on a bill, I thank them for that."

Politico reported Monday that out of the 217 House Republicans who voted for the bill, just 14 were scheduled to hold town halls with constituents during the ongoing House break. Before the vote, many Republicans who held town halls got an earful from attendees angry about the GOP bill.

On Friday, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, was booed at a town hall held a day after his yes vote for the bill when he said, "Nobody dies because they don't have access to health care."

Labrador later wrote on Facebook message that "I was responding to a false notion that the Republican health care plan will cause people to die in the streets, which I completely reject."

"In the five-second clip that the media is focusing on, I was trying to explain that all hospitals are required by law to treat patients in need of emergency care regardless of their ability to pay and that the Republican plan does not change that," Labrador wrote.

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