FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
But Daines’ record is crystal clear: during his time in the Senate, he has cozied up to his insurance industry donors, voting to allow them to deny health care coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, instead of fighting for quality, affordable care for all Montanans.
NBC News: Republican senators in tough races obscure their position on pre-existing conditions
Sens. Gardner, Perdue, McSally and Daines are all running ads proclaiming support for the protections despite voting to repeal Obamacare and weaken them.
By: Sahil Kapur
WASHINGTON — Republican senators facing tough re-election fights this fall are expressing support for insurance protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions, running ads at odds with their own recent votes and policy positions.
Republican senators are fighting to maintain control of the chamber, and that has left many telling voters they favor the most popular provisions after they backed legislation that would have chipped away at the protections in the 2010 law. The replacement plans they’ve supported fall short of fully restoring those rules, say health policy experts.
“When you’re in retreat it’s best to do it slowly and not make it look like a complete spin around,” said Tom Miller, a health policy expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
Miller said GOP senators are running these ads because they can read polls that show pre-existing condition rules are popular and “don’t want to get crosswise” with voters. He said there are other ways to protect sick people, but each come with some downsides.
“I don’t think a lot of Republicans have thought deeply and consistently about how to do that because that takes work. It’s heavy lifting and it requires trade-offs,” Miller said.
In Montana, Sen. Steve Daines, a Republican who is facing a strong Democratic opponent in Gov. Steve Bullock, ran an ad in July featuring a woman who said, “Steve Daines will protect Montanans with pre-existing conditions.”
Perdue and Daines voted to advance the Senate repeal-and-replace measure in 2017. Daines also voted to repeal the ACA without a replacement as a member of the House in 2013.
On his official website, Daines says, “I support full repeal of Obamacare,” and adds that “we must always protect those with preexisting conditions,” without getting specific.
Miller, of AEI, thinks Republicans are doing what in military terms is known as “advance to the rear,” suggesting they are retreating while claiming otherwise.
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