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Pro-Obamacare group targets Heller over challenges to protections for pre-existing conditions

Megan Messerly
Megan Messerly
Election 2018Health CareIndyBlog

A pro-Affordable Care Act group is releasing a new television advertisement today targeting Republican Sen. Dean Heller amid the Trump administration’s efforts to challenge the federal health-care law’s protections for pre-existing conditions in court.

The 30-second spot from Protect Our Care urges viewers to call Heller’s office and tell him to oppose Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, saying that the current D.C. appeals court judge could support the president’s effort to get axe protections for pre-existing conditions if he is appointed to the highest court. The ad is backed by a six-figure buy and will air on both television and digital.

“This woman has cancer. She’s worried about side effects like hair loss, nausea, huge bills, even losing her home,” the narrator says. “Now she’s got even more to worry about because President Trump’s gone to court to strike down health insurance protections for pre-existing conditions including cancer.”

The Trump administration filed a brief in June arguing that the changes Congress made to the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate as part of the tax reform bill in December keeping the mandate in place but removing all penalties for failing to do so has made the provision unconstitutional. The brief argues that with the individual mandate effectively gone two other main pieces of the federal health-care law, which made it possible for people with pre-existing conditions to purchase health insurance, cannot stand.

Democrats have publicly worried that Kavanaugh would support dismantling the Affordable Care Act, pointing to a dissenting opinion he authored when the appeals court upheld the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. However, legal experts have parsed the decision in different ways, saying that his decision may have been more technical rather than specifically related to his views of the health-care law.

The ad includes the phone number for Heller’s office and tells viewers to call him and tell him to vote no on Kavanagh’s confirmation.

The spot is kicking off Protect Our Care’s week of action in Nevada, which will include patients with pre-existing conditions visiting Heller’s offices in Las Vegas and Reno to drop off letters, the release of video testimonials and a roundtable between people with pre-existing conditions, health-care advocates and legal scholars. The group is also launching similar campaigns in Maine and Alaska.


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