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On voters’ top issue, “Republicans remain on the defensive” [HuffPost]

A new report this morning finds “Americans — crossing lines of age, party and gender — are united in what they really care about, according to a new poll: Health care.”

That’s why GOP incumbents facing tough re-elections are changing their talking points and ignoring their records of voting to increase the cost of coverage and cut back on key protections, like coverage for pre-existing conditions. Beyond their votes, Republicans have yet another self-imposed liability with their lawsuit to tear down the health care system — and vulnerable incumbents aren’t trying to stop it. Read about how “Republicans remain on the defensive” below.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

HuffPost: Vulnerable Republicans Who Backed Obamacare Repeal Aren’t As Fired Up About It Now

By Kevin Robillard and Igor Bobic

May 20, 2019

Key Points:

  • In 2017, now-Arizona Sen. Martha McSally really, really wanted to repeal Obamacare. McSally, then a congresswoman, reportedly stood up in the middle of a GOP conference meeting and urged her colleagues to vote for a bill to gut the signature Democratic domestic policy achievement of the past decade, telling them to get this “fucking thing” done.
  • McSally, who later lost a Senate race for one of Arizona’s seats before being appointed to the other, now has a different outlook… But her new rhetoric, which comes after years of support for a full repeal of Obamacare and after a vote for a plan that would have increased costs and weakened protections for people with preexisting conditions, is representative of how Republican senators up for reelection in 2020 are approaching the law.
  • Health care remains the No. 1 issue for voters, according to public opinion polling, and Republicans remain on the defensive following a Democratic midterm romp.
  • “For the last two years, Republicans promised to protect preexisting conditions while trying to gut them. For the next two years, they may pretend to abandon health care repeal, but they’re doing everything they can to repeal, sabotage and overturn it,” said Jesse Ferguson, a top Democratic strategist. “If they were serious about stopping health care repeal, they would be doing something to stop Trump’s Department of Justice from trying to strike down the entire law.”
  • Republicans have offered a number of bills intended to show their commitment to protecting people with preexisting conditions ― a move designed to blunt Democratic attacks over health care in 2020.
  • And as much as Republicans point to Tillis’ bill as evidence of their desire to protect people with preexisting conditions, it has little chance of passing in a divided Senate. Moreover, experts say it would allow insurers to exclude coverage of some preexisting conditions anyway, calling its provisions a “mirage.”
  • Other Republicans who are facing a competitive reelection fight are similarly choosing their words carefully when discussing Obamacare. “I was never really a repeal-and-replace guy. I wanted to fix things,” Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), who voted to repeal Obamacare in 2017, told HuffPost.

Read the full report here.

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