Republicans in tight congressional races are silent on health care, Purify campaign sites Anti-abortion language and in some cases moving away from previous criticisms of the Affordable Care Act.
why does it matter: It’s a clear contrast to the weak Democrats, who did it She was campaigning nonstop Concerning the enshrinement of abortion rights and health care provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act.
- The bigger question is what the GOP’s health care agenda would look like if the party reversed control of one or both houses of Congress.
Contact Axios for republican campaigns In 10 of the closest House and Senate races. Only Adam Laxalt, the Nevada Senate candidate, responded. A review of the candidates’ websites and past statements found that even the hard-liners backed by former President Trump have retreated from language on social media channels and avoided situations such as repealing the anti-corruption law.
- Laxalt campaigned against the ACA While running for the Nevada attorney general in 2018. He softened his stance two years later when he ran for governor, saying he Supported protection for patients with pre-existing conditions. Now, as he challenges current Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, the only health care issue On his website He investigates what he calls the public health failures of the government’s response to COVID-19.
- Press Secretary Brian Freemuth did not elaborate on Laxalt’s position on the ACA, but said that if elected, he would “prioritize reducing costs, expanding options, and allowing patients to keep the doctor they prefer while protecting those with pre-existing conditions.”
- Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance also didn’t set the healthcare agenda His websitealthough he said in February Campaign Event that “Obamacare was a disaster” and should be abolished and replaced with “something of substance”.
- Georgia Senate Herschel Walker hopes he didn’t talk much about healthcare, but His website He said he wanted to increase “competitive market options to ensure that every Georgian has access to high-quality, affordable health care.”
- North Carolina Senate candidate Ted Budd, too Policy points are not displayed Or say a lot about health care since April, when he lamented in a podcast That Obamacare cancels and replaces the bill he supported as a congressman in 2017 died in the Senate.
- Mehmet Oz, a candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate, a retired cardiac surgeon, said he would expand access To the short-term private health plans championed by former President Trump as an alternative to ACA coverage. CNN reported In March, Oz previously supported federal health insurance mandates and promoted the Affordable Care Act, although his campaign told CNN that the situation had changed.
- Madison Jesioto Gilbert of Ohio, who is running for membership in the Thirteenth Congress, At a rally in Ohio Trump Last April, she supported eliminating Obamacare but has since supported it limiting their positions To oppose Medicare for All and support “Patient-centered healthcare removing the role of the federal government.”
Between the lines: That kind of divergence makes sense, said Republican strategist Brendan Buck.
- “Republicans have been talking about health care for the past decade almost exclusively about abolition and replacement. We figured out the hard way it wasn’t a winning issue anymore and totally fell back on that.”
- Buck said the Republican Party wants to put these half-terms around the economy. “It’s not bias against healthcare. But, if it weren’t for inflation, and gas prices, it wouldn’t be a major issue.”
recovery: Republicans failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act in Congress, and in June 2021 the Supreme Court dismissed a repeal case brought by a group of Republican attorneys general.
- But Republicans have won big electoral victories in health care in the past, as they did in 1994 over former President Clinton Comprehensive healthcare plan And in 2010 in response to the passage of the ACA.
The Big Picture: The difficulty is coming up with a clear Republican position on health care, said Larry Levitt, executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation.
- “When Republican candidates talk about health care, it generally goes against Democratic plans,” Levitt said. “That leaves Republicans a small box in this campaign because the ACA is now more popular than ever.”
- The last KFF referendum It shows the Affordable Care Act has a 55% approval rating, one of the highest ratings in the law since its implementation.
What’s Next: If the Republican Party takes control of the House or Senate, Buck expects Republicans to focus on health care policy less ambitious and focus on issues such as expanding telehealth or using health savings accounts.
- It is also likely that there will be investigations into the origins of COVID-19 and the response of the Biden administration. Topics for consideration include whether the coronavirus is man-made, as well as examining US funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology, I mentioned Axios.
- “They have no intention of stamping out comprehensive reform,” Buck said. “The abolition and replacement are very dead. I am confident that Republican leaders even if they control both the House and Senate will not restart that play – the ACA is here to stay.”
But but but: The Inflation Control Act extends support for enhanced ACA health insurance for another three years. If a Republican is elected president in 2024 or the Republican Party takes control of Congress, it is certainly possible that lawmakers will choose not to renew support again.
- Republicans could also try to nullify the drug price negotiations that the new law prescribes that are due to begin in 2026. Rep. Paddy Carter (R-Ge) hinted at such a possibility during a Fox News last interview.
Bottom line: Republicans’ wariness of engaging in health care reinforces how the Affordable Care Act has become a staple of the health system — and gives Democrats ample opportunity to demand credit in exchange for its coverage expansions and policy reforms that bypass the law.