The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting two vulnerable Pennsylvania congressional seats in part of a nationwide ad buy criticizing Republicans for efforts to weaken the Affordable Care Act.
The Facebook ad buys in PA-1 and PA-17 were announced Monday afternoon by the DCCC as an answer to the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision last week to not defend one of the law’s most popular provisions in federal court.
Officials said the ads are aimed at “persuadable voters” who are constituents of U.S. representatives Brian Fitzpatrick and Keith Rothfus, whose seats Democrats believe they have a chance to win this fall.
The ad states, in part, that Republicans are “catering to drug companies and special interests” and “coming after your health care” by ending guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions, allowing out-of-pocket costs to rise and for companies to institute an “age tax” for people 50 or older.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a federal judge in Texas that without the individual mandate — which required adults purchase insurance or face fines and was repealed as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed last year — he agreed with the plaintiffs in the case that other provisions of the law also would be invalidated.
In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Sessions said without the individual mandate, consumer insurance protections that prevented companies from refusing coverage or charging more for pre-existing conditions or other factors also will be declared unconstitutional.
Sessions said his decision was made with the approval of President Donald Trump.
DCCC officials said they aim to warn voters that Republicans are putting their access to health coverage at risk. Chairman Ben Ray Luján said in a press release this new campaign is part of a five-figure nationwide media blitz, with the ads running on Facebook starting this week.
“House Republicans will stop at nothing to rip away affordable healthcare coverage from their constituents, and we are all at risk as long as they control the House,” Luján said in a press release. “After their failure to fully repeal our healthcare, Republicans persisted by gutting key parts of the Affordable Care Act in their tax bill, and are now using that opening to end protections for people with pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes and asthma.”
He said the ads highlight Democrats’ commitment to health care and will set the stage for upcoming debates this fall.
Chris Martin, regional press secretary of the National Republican Congressional Committee, dismissed the ads as “beyond parody at this point.”
“First, Democrats implemented a law that everyone knew would collapse under its own weight,” he said, “and now they’re pushing Bernie Sanders’ single-payer plan that would cost taxpayers $32 trillion over 10 years.”