California GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who is in a tight re-election race against Democratic challenger and businessman Harley Rouda, has gone personal with a new TV campaign commercial in which he discusses his daughter Annika's leukemia diagnosis and coverage for pre-existing health conditions.
Yet the new ad doesn't talk about the Orange County politician's vote for the American Health Care Act of 2017. A Congressional Budget Office report warned the AHCA would result in 23 million Americans losing health-care coverage and would undermine protections for pre-existing medical conditions.
"Politicians argue a lot about health care, but for me it's personal," Rohrabacher is heard saying in the 30-second ad. "When my daughter Annika was 8 years old she was afflicted with leukemia. It was devastating to my family, but we got through it — and today she's doing great."
He adds, "So for her and all our families, we must protect America's health-care system. That's why I'm taking on both parties and fighting for those with pre-existing conditions."
Rohrabacher represents the 48th Congressional District, which runs along the Southern California coast from Seal Beach to Laguna Niguel. Republicans have a nearly 10 percentage point registration advantage in the district, but there have been changing demographics, and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won the district by nearly 2 points in 2016.
Rohrabacher's sudden shift on health care fits in with a broader Republican strategy adopted as Democrats hammer GOP candidates over attempts to repeal Obamacare. Republican candidates across the country, even some state attorneys general who signed on to a lawsuit challenging pre-existing conditions coverage, are now promising to protect the insurance provisions.
President Donald Trump went even further at a rally Thursday night in Minnesota, which plays host to four competitive House races this year. He claimed without offering evidence that "some of the Democrats have been talking about ending pre-existing conditions." No Democratic candidates have proposed that.
The GOP has tried to turn other key Democratic arguments on their heads during the midterms. Democrats have argued that Republicans could try to trim Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in order to make up for the lost revenue from their tax plan passed last year. The GOP, in turn, has contended that Democrats who propose a Medicare for All health-care plan could hurt seniors who rely on the government program.