April 26, 2017
By Kevin Robillard
Priorities USA is out with a six-figure digital ad buy attacking the revitalized Republican plan to repeal Obamacare, looking to protect Democratic senators on the issue and sway moderate Republicans in the upper chamber.
The super PAC — which backed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s presidential bids and is now working to become a centerpiece of the Democratic resistance to President Donald Trump — will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on pre-roll, social and search ads in five states with potentially vulnerable Democratic senators in 2018: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and Ohio. The spots will also appear in two states, Nevada and Arizona, that are home to potentially vulnerable Republicans. And the ads will also run in Alaska and Maine, home to moderate Republican senators who could be pressured to vote against Obamacare repeal.
In each state, Priorities will target the ads to voters who they say could be harmed by the legislation.
“The new version of the Republicans’ plan allows states to eliminate the requirement that insurers treat Americans with pre-existing conditions fairly and provide plans that cover Essential Health Benefits,” Priorities USA chairman Guy Cecil said in a statement. “Republican lawmakers are so aware of the harmful consequences of these changes that they’ve carved out an exemption for themselves—and Priorities is committed to making sure voters know it.”
The spots will focus on what Priorities is causing the “mom tax,” saying the legislation would allow insurance companies to classify pregnancy as a pre-existing condition and allow them to charge pregnant women $17,000 more in premiums. It’ll also focus on the ability of states to waive Essential Health Benefits, a key provision awarded to the Freedom Caucus in negotiations since the failure of the American Health Care Act in March.
Priorities also spent tens of thousands on digital ads during the first round of negotiations over the GOP’s plan to repeal Obamacare, which fell apart due to opposition from both the party’s conservative and moderate wings. Those spots focused on how the legislation would arm older voters and millennials. The amended bill, crafted by Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Rep. Tom MacArthur of New Jersey, aimed to assuage conservative concerns by giving state flexibility on forcing insurers to cover pre-existing conditions.