Ads dare conservatives to oppose Trump on health plan

A group allied with Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFive GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump walks back criticism of UK Brexit strategy | McConnell worries US in 'early stages' of trade war | US trade deficit with China hits new record Tampons sent to Dem who called for free feminine hygiene products in House 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 BurgessOvernight Health Care: Official defends suspending insurer payments | What Kavanaugh's nomination means for ObamaCare | Panel approves bill to halt employer mandate House panel advances bill that would temporarily halt ObamaCare's employer mandate Trump signs 'right to try' drug bill MORE and Ted PoeLloyd (Ted) Theodore PoeFive races to watch in the Texas runoffs Five Republican run-offs to watch in Texas Hillicon Valley: House Dems release Russia-linked Facebook ads | Bill would block feds from mandating encryption 'back doors' | AT&T hired Cohen for advice on Time Warner merger | FCC hands down record robocall fine | White House launches AI panel MORE will see the ads air in their districts, but are generally less likely to buck the GOP leadership.