Scott Brown will formally kickoff his campaign to unseat New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) on Thursday night by characterizing the Affordable Care Act as a law that undermines American “liberty” and freedom of choice. The former Massachusetts senator won’t mention that his family has benefited from Obamacare or that he voted for very similar health care mandates and requirements as a state senator in Massachusetts, however.
“Premiums are way up for a lot of people — by 90 percent, according to one survey,” Brown will say, according to excerpts released by his campaign. “And along with our money and our health plans, for a lot of us it feels like we’re losing our liberty, too. Obamacare forces us to make a choice, live free or log on — and here in New Hampshire, we choose freedom.”
Brown rode a Tea Party wave to the senate in January of 2010 by promising to become the 41st vote to block Obamacare. But soon after it became law, he acknowledged relying on one of its provisions to “keep his elder daughter on his congressional health insurance plan.” “Of course I do,’’ the Massachusetts Republican told the Boston Globe in May of 2010, when asked if 23-year-old Ayla Brown has taken advantage of the provision. He argued that keeping his daughter on his health care plan “is not inconsistent with his criticism of the federal law…because the same coverage could be required by individual states.”
Indeed, as a Massachusetts state senator, Brown voted for the state’s 2006′s reform law, which provided the template for the Affordable Care Act, and similarly extended dependent coverage. The Massachusetts reform, commonly known as Chapter 58, also includes an individual health insurance mandate, employer responsibility provisions, insurance exchanges, government affordability credits and strict insurance regulations. Brown praised the state law during his 2010 senate campaign, asking during one debate, “[W]hy do we need a one size fits all government approach we already did it?” he asked. “[W]hy would we go and subsidize the failure of other states — not only would we be paying for our plan, we’d be paying for everyone else.”
An Associated Press report previewing Brown’s kickoff campaign event characterizes his claim that health care premiums will increase by 90 percent as dishonest. The statistic is based on a survey that included “a single New Hampshire broker” and “refers only to the premium increase for individual policy holders.” “Less than 7 percent of New Hampshire’s insured have individual plans; the vast majority of insured residents are covered by their employers,” the AP writes.
Brown’s early interactions with voters also indicate that his anti-Obamacare rhetoric may not be gaining traction in New Hampshire, where approximately 22,000 people have signed up for health insurance through the law. A couple told Brown in March that the law was a “financial lifesaver.” “Thank God for Obamacare!” the wife of Herb Richardson, a beneficiary of the ACA, exclaimed.