Senate Brief: GOP Candidates Struggle with “Dissonant” Healthcare Messaging

Week of Monday, August 20, 2018.

IN BRIEF: GOP Senate candidates are trying to have it both ways on Obamacare. They’re failing.

  • Republican candidates running for Senate are campaigning against the Affordable Care Act while promising they’ll protect coverage for pre-existing conditions. In states from Indiana to Montana, GOP Senate candidates are still railing against the Affordable Care Act on the stump, yet consistently swear they’ll protect the law’s most popular provisions.
  • That’s not how this works. Republicans can talk all they want about how they’ll keep constituents with cancer or diabetes safe from exorbitant healthcare rates — but their continued support for gutting the ACA negates every single talking point.
  • If a GOP Congress repeals Obamacare, or if the Republican lawsuit against the ACA succeeds, that all but guarantees coverage for pre-existing conditions will be scrapped. GOP Senate candidates are consistently on the record with support for the lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. The success of that lawsuit likely means the gutting of the ACA — including its most popular provisions.
  • GOP candidates know that stripping coverage from vulnerable Americans is unpopular. So they’re trying to have it both ways — claiming they’ll protect those people, but keeping up the decade-long Republican crusade against Obamacare. These two things are mutually exclusive, a fact that is increasingly dogging Republicans on the campaign trail.


THREE TO WATCH:

  • Rick Scott has a new source of campaign cash: the “well-heeled Floridians appointed by Scott to a number of state boards” as governor. Gatehouse reports, “some critics say board members steering significant amounts of money to the governor who appoints them raises questions about state government. ‘It smacks of pay-to-play,’” said one government watchdog organization.
  • Leah Vukmir has spent her first week as Wisconsin’s GOP Senate nominee begging for support from her opponent’s top donor, not asking for votes from Wisconsinites. Wisconsin’s WKOW reports that just a week after Vukmir criticized billionaire Dick Uihlein for trying to “buy a Senate seat,” she’s betting on his support to help her in the general.
  • Martha McSally is fighting for her political life as next week’s Arizona Senate primary looms. The Arizona Republic reports a who’s who of Arizona’s Republican establishment has spent nearly $1 million in the past week to fend off Kelli Ward, suggesting the race “has grown close in its final weeks.” The late cash infusion comes after The Hill reported national Republicans begged President Trump to tip his hand to McSally in the primary.


THREE NUMBERS:

  • 700. Number of dollars, in millions, that Sheldon Adelson’s company saved thanks to the GOP Tax Scam.
  • 1.9. Number of dollars, in trillions, added to the national debt by the GOP Tax Scam.
  • 0.2. Percentage by which American workers’ real wages decreased from July 2017 to July 2018.


ONE FOR THE ROAD: Think, Aretha Franklin (1968)

AND HAPPY MONDAY from American Bridge. Follow us at @JoshuaKarp @AmeliaPenniman @EmmaBeckerman1