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Digital ad campaign for GOP health care plan being launched

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., arrives in Trump Tower in New York Dec. 12, 2016. (Richard Drew / Associated Press)
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., arrives in Trump Tower in New York Dec. 12, 2016. (Richard Drew / Associated Press)
By Simone Pathe Tribune News Service

WASHINGTON – An outside group affiliated with House GOP leadership is ramping up its advertising campaign for a Republican alternative to the 2010 health care law, running $400,000 in digital ads across 28 congressional districts. Some of those ads will be presented in Washington’s 5th Congressional District for GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

American Action Network, a conservative nonprofit advocacy organization, is launching its first digital campaign of the year Friday, when the House is expected to vote on the budget resolution that would begin the process of repealing President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

AAN debuted TV ads Thursday night during House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s CNN town hall that promoted the party’s health care law replacement efforts. More than $1 million in TV ads are running in 15 districts, including those of some vulnerable GOP incumbents and committee chairmen.

The digital ad strikes a similar tone as the TV spot. It’s intended to frame the debate over the House’s repeal and replacement process, proposing a health insurance system with “more choices,” “better care” and “lower costs.”

This system “would provide peace of mind to people with pre-existing conditions” and eliminate “senseless regulations,” the ad says.

“House Republicans have a plan to get there without disrupting existing coverage,” the ad continues. But the message is light on specifics about how or when repeal and replacement should happen or how the replacement plan should be paid for.

“American Action Network is ensuring Americans know that there is a conservative, patient-centered plan for repealing and replacing Obamacare,” AAN Executive Director Corry Bliss said in a statement.

The digital campaign includes online video, display and search ads. It will target the districts of vulnerable Republicans, members of leadership, committee chairmen and even rank-and-file Republicans in deep red districts.

That includes the districts of members who haven’t always been friendly to leadership, like Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. AAN targeted Jordan in 2015 to urge him to support funding for the Department of Homeland Security.

Ads will target districts of varying degrees of competitiveness in the last election, including those held by California Reps. Jeff Denham, David Valadao and Darrell Issa, Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo, Iowa Rep. Rod Blum, Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder, Minnesota Rep. Erik Paulsen, Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon, Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Texas Rep. Will Hurd and Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock.

Other districts targeted include those held by Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, McMorris Rodgers, GOP Policy Committee Chairman Luke Messer of Indiana, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers of Ohio, Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon, Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas, Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia, Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry of Texas, Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi of Ohio, Interim Budget Chairwoman Diane Black of Tennessee, Ohio Rep. David Joyce, South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice and Tennessee Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.

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