Medicaid group's ad buy urges opposition to cuts

The Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) is launching a seven-figure ad buy urging GOP senators from swing states to oppose Medicaid cuts.

The group's message: Medicaid is important economically because it supports workers.

"Cutting Medicaid will put millions of jobs at risk," the ad says.

The broadcast and digital ad campaign will be aired in West Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada — states that expanded Medicaid. Most of those states also have at least one moderate Republican senator who has expressed concerns over changes to the program. The ad is also playing in Washington, D.C.

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ACAP represents Medicaid plans that have more than 20 million enrollees in 29 states.

“We are reminding Senators that protecting Medicaid protects workers and small businesses in their states — half of working people who rely on Medicaid for coverage work for small businesses,” ACAP CEO Margaret A. Murray said in a press release.

ACAP doesn’t support the Senate bill, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act, saying in a letter that “because the BCRA makes massive cuts to federal Medicaid funding and does not protect plans from unsound rates, ACAP has no choice but to oppose this legislation.”

Medicaid has emerged as one of the trickiest issues of repealing and replacing ObamaCare. Senators from expansion states don’t want to see their constituents lose coverage, while the others don’t want to be punished for staying true to conservative principles.

In an analysis, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the Senate bill would lead to 15 million fewer Americans on Medicaid by 2026. The legislation includes a $772 billion cut for the healthcare program for the poor and disabled, the CBO added.

The Senate bill phases out ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion starting in 2021, and would revert to pre-ObamaCare levels by 2024.

Several moderate GOP senators, such as Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoGOP senators unveil bill to expand 'opportunity zone' reporting requirements ICE emerges as stumbling block in government funding talks Congress braces for chaotic December MORE (W.Va.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanLawmakers call for investigation into program meant to help student loan borrowers with disabilities Senators sound alarm on dangers of ransomware attacks after briefing Senate roundtable showcases importance and needs of women entrepreneurs MORE (Ohio), were pushing for a seven-year phaseout of extra federal funds for Medicaid expansion. Neither has expressed how they would vote on the bill.

But last Friday, Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (R-Nev.) said he opposed the bill in its current form, citing concerns over the phaseout of Medicaid.

Over the weekend, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said the bill doesn’t really repeal ObamaCare but instead is “largely a Medicaid reform package,” according to Vox.