The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the nation’s largest seniors group, is running a brutal radio ad that could be a preview for what’s in store for members of Congress who vote for Trumpcare.
The AARP ad, which ran on Thursday on Washington D.C.’s WTOP, opens with the kind of dramatic music usually heard in an attack ad.
“Sometimes a bad deal is just a bad deal. And when it comes to the health care bill in Congress, a bad deal just got worse,” the narrator tells listeners in the D.C. metro area, which includes a swing district in Virginia represented by Republican Barbara Comstock.
While the ad ostensibly “thanks” Comstock for opposing the bill, it is clearly a shot across the bow for those that support it.
Comstock, already gearing up for a strong challenge in next year’s election, announced her opposition to the original version of the bill hours before Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill from the floor.
“We all know that too many Americans are paying too much for health coverage, but this bill could cost you up to $25,000 more a year if you have a pre-existing condition. Buried in the fine print, an ‘age tax’ allowing insurance companies to charge older Americans five times more — or even higher — for their health coverage than anyone else.”
The ad’s not done.
“That’s bad enough, but it gets worse,” the narrator says, as the music gets even more dramatic. “While millions of older Americans get priced out of coverage, big drug and insurance companies get billions in tax breaks.”
The ad finishes with a plea to call Rep. Comstock to thank her for opposing the “high priced” bill — reiterating that “it’s a bad deal that just got worse.”
The ad could easily be repurposed to criticize those who vote for the bill — keeping all the substantive statements and replacing the lines asking people to thank Comstock with lines asking people to ask their Representative to stop voting for such bad deals.
Members of Congress: Do you *really* want to sign off on all these things?
— AARP Advocates (@AARPadvocates) May 4, 2017
AARP’s advocacy arm has been vociferously opposed to Trumpcare, even with its recent amendments that have pulled some “no” votes to “yes” votes. Earlier this week, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) said he opposed the bill because it doesn’t do enough to protect patients with pre-existing conditions. On Wednesday, Upton and Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) reversed their opposition with the addition of an amendment named after Upton that added money intended to help cover people with pre-existing conditions. This funding would only cover 76,000 people, and still does nothing to prevent states from waving protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Therefore, the bill still drew stong opposition from the AARP. Nancy LeaMond, AARP’s executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer, sent a letter to every House member saying, “With the introduction of the Upton Amendment, we once again write to share our opposition to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and urge you to vote NO.”
The group has been urging its nearly 38 million members to contact their representatives to tell them to vote no on the bill. “Between the age tax and the premium hikes, low and middle income Americans could be forced to pay a total of $8,000 more just to keep their same coverage,” AARP’s action website said, providing an easy way to send letters to their House members.
Progressive pro-labor groups have been airing TV ads over the last month attacking GOP members who have been supportive of the bill in the past.
House leaders planned a vote on the bill for Thursday afternoon.
UPDATE: This article initially incorrectly transcribed the number stated in the AARP ad — the ad said the bill could cost the listener up to $25,000 per year, not $2,500 per year. The correction has been made in the text.