Ads dare conservatives to oppose Trump on health plan

A group allied with Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDem: Ex-lawmaker tried to pin me to elevator door and kiss me Two months later: Puerto Rico doesn’t have power, education or economy running again On Capitol Hill, few name names on sexual harassment MORE (R-Wis.) and the House GOP leadership team is launching a six-figure television ad campaign urging conservative lawmakers to support the party’s proposal to repeal and replace the 2010 healthcare law.

The American Action Network (AAN) is airing $500,000 worth of television ads on Fox News and in 30 House districts mostly represented by members of the hard-right Freedom Caucus.

President Trump handily won those districts and is popular among the lawmakers’ constituents. The ads are banking on the notion that the conservative House members will be wary of looking like they’re not supporting Trump.

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The ads play a clip of Trump at his joint address to Congress last week saying, “Repeal and replace ObamaCare,” followed by a message urging people to tell their member of Congress "to vote with President Trump."

Before that, the spots compare and contrast the 2010 law with the GOP’s plan, which the party has dubbed the American Health Care Act.

“ObamaCare is full of job-destroying mandates. The new plan eliminates them. ObamaCare put bureaucrats in control. The Republicans’ plan puts patients and doctors in charge. ObamaCare stuck families with soaring premiums. The new plan provides more choices and lower costs.”

The new ads are the first this year specifically aimed at corralling reluctant GOP lawmakers to vote for leadership-backed legislation.

Other ads run by AAN since January that focused on healthcare urged Republicans to keep their pledges to repeal and replace ObamaCare, including in some districts represented by members of the leadership team. 

“It’s time for conservatives to unite behind President Trump and Speaker Ryan to pass the American Health Care Act. This bill gives conservatives the opportunity to deliver on their promise to repeal and replace the disaster that is ObamaCare,” Corry Bliss, AAN’s executive director, said in a statement on Thursday.

Many conservative lawmakers and outside groups have blasted the leadership-backed proposal as “ObamaCare 2.0” and “ObamaCare lite.” They argue it doesn't go far enough in fully repealing the healthcare law and say the tax credits created under the plan to help people buy insurance would amount to another expensive new entitlement program. 

Yet Ryan has maintained that the legislation will have enough votes to pass by the time it reaches the House floor. The Trump administration has been working to convince skeptical conservatives, including by inviting Freedom Caucus members to the White House bowling alley.

All but two of the 30 targeted lawmakers are known members of the Freedom Caucus. Texas Republican Reps. Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessHarvey response puts squeeze on GOP Medicaid efficiency is needed now, more than ever In the politics of healthcare reform, past is prologue MORE and Ted PoeLloyd (Ted) Theodore PoeMounting GOP retirements threaten House majority House Judiciary chairman announces retirement GOP anxiety rises over ’18 midterms MORE will see the ads air in their districts, but are generally less likely to buck the GOP leadership.