Ryan-allied group launches $2M ad campaign ahead of healthcare CBO score

Greg Nash

An outside GOP group aligned with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) unveiled a $2 million TV ad blitz on Tuesday defending the legislation to replace ObamaCare ahead of the highly anticipated Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of its effects.

American Action Network’s ad will run in 21 House districts and nationally on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to tout the GOP’s bill, known as the American Health Care Act. 

It features a California woman named Elizabeth Jacinto saying that her family “lost our insurance and doctor because of the Affordable Care Act.”

“But now, we have hope. The American Health Care Act will fix our broken healthcare system,” she says in the ad.

{mosads}Most of the 21 Republicans who will see the ad in their districts are considered vulnerable heading into the 2018 midterm elections, such as Reps. Darrell Issa (Calif.), Martha McSally (Ariz.), Jeff Denham (Calif.), David Valadao (Calif.), Steve Knight (Calif.) and Carlos Curbelo (Fla.).

House GOP leaders rushed to bring the legislation to a vote nearly three weeks ago once it had the minimum required amount of support. It passed by a narrow 217-213 margin, with 20 Republicans voting against it.

At the time, Republicans downplayed the need to wait for the CBO to assess the impact of the changes. 

The legislation has not officially been sent over to the Senate yet because GOP leaders are waiting for the updated CBO score to come out on Wednesday. They want to ensure it can abide by Senate rules for the reconciliation process, which Republicans are using to bypass a Democratic filibuster.  

The first CBO analysis of the bill upon its original introduction estimated that 24 million more people would be uninsured over the next decade. Since then, the legislation went under significant changes to win over support from conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus as well as some centrists.

Most crucially, the bill would allow states to apply for waivers from certain ObamaCare provisions that mandate certain services insurance plans must cover and prevent insurers from charging people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums.

Consumers with pre-existing conditions wouldn’t be charged more if they don’t have a gap in coverage. But individuals buying health insurance plans on the individual market who have a lapse in coverage of about two months could face insurance rates priced off their pre-existing conditions for one year. However, that would only apply if they lived in a state that had received a waiver. 

If the new CBO score shows the legislation adds to the deficit, it would no longer meet the reconciliation requirements. 

The American Action Network has spent more than $5.6 million on TV, digital and radio advertising campaigns since the House passed the legislation earlier this month. To date, it is the only major GOP outside group trying to defend the healthcare plan on the airwaves.

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