For months after a rocky roll out of the federal and state health insurance exchanges, Democrats distanced themselves from the Affordable Care Act.
Now, they’re using it to throw barbs at their Republican opponents.
In Minnesota, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is criticizing 8th Congressional District Republican candidate Stewart Mills for saying he would scrap the law, including parts that both sides support.
Listen Catharine Richert talks with MPR News’ Steven John
“Millionaire Stewart Mills III has taken thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the health insurance industry, and now he wants to put the insurance companies back in charge to deny care to people with-pre-existing conditions and kick kids off their parents’ plans,” a DCCC press release states.
The DCCC’s claim is half wrong, half right.
To support part of its claim, the DCCC points to information collected by OpenSecrets.com, a website that tracks campaign money. The website shows Mills has taken $7,100 from the insurance industry. But that’s the entire insurance industry, not just health insurance companies.
According to Mills’ campaign finance records, he’s gotten $1,000 from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association PAC, and that’s it.
The DCCC also claims that Mills wants to scrap popular parts of the Affordable Care Act, including a provision that prevents insurance companies from rejecting patients with pre-existing conditions and another provision that allows children to stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26.
Here, the DCCC is on stronger footing.
Mills recently told MinnPost that he would advocate replacing the Affordable Care Act if he’s elected, but that those provisions may not be a part of the new law.
Campaign spokeswoman Chloe Rockow says Mills isn’t opposed to making sure young adults and those with pre-existing conditions have access to health insurance – he just thinks there are better ways of doing it.
For instance, Mills wants to strengthen privacy rules for people with pre-existing conditions and to reinstate the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association, which is a special health insurance program for people with pre-existing conditions who can’t get insurance elsewhere. That program is being phased out, because those people are now get insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
The DCCC is incorrect that Mills has accepted “thousands in campaign contributions from the health insurance industry.” It’s more like $1,000.
But the group is correct that Mills isn’t keen on Obamacare, including two provisions that are relatively popular with the public.