Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux, candidate for Congress in Georgia's 7th District, speaks at a rally in Lawrenceville on Oct. 6, 2018. (Dustin Chambers for AJC)
Photo: DUSTIN CHAMBERS/Dustin Chambers
Photo: DUSTIN CHAMBERS/Dustin Chambers

Georgia 7th: Woodall opponent homes in on Obamacare repeal vote in first ad

Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux entered the 7th District congressional race last year with a health care-focused message that drew heavily from her family’s own experience with sky-high medical bills. Now U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall’s opponent is making clear she plans to double down on the subject in the weeks leading up to the election. 

Bourdeaux’s campaign is debuting a 30-second ad today that attacks Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, for his vote last year to repeal and replace Obamacare. The spot, which will run on local network and cable channels, also dings Woodall for the health care plan he receives as a member of Congress. 

“As a policy expert and a mother, I believe every Georgian deserves affordable care,” Bourdeaux says in the ad. “I’ll fight to lower insurance costs and protect coverage for preexisting conditions.” 

The Georgia State University professor opted to run for Congress in part because of the GOP’s efforts to scrap Obamacare. Bourdeaux has also called for expanding Medicaid, adding a public option to the Obamacare exchanges and giving Medicare the green light to negotiate better drug prices. 

Woodall has described the Affordable Care Act as an inflexible “one-size-fits-all policy” that has led to skyrocketing premiums for patients. He backed his party’s Obamacare replacement legislation last year, which he said would have protected “all families with pre-existing conditions,” and slammed Democrats for pursuing “socialized medicine.” 

The spot is the first significant ad buy of this year’s 7th District contest. Woodall, who is running for his fifth term representing the Gwinnett and Forsyth-based district, has yet to unveil a television spot of his own. 

The 7th District contest has attracted increased outside interest in recent months given Gwinnett’s new majority-minority status and Bourdeaux’s fundraising edge. House Democrats recently ramped up their investment in the race, even as Woodall has expressed confidence about the GOP’s sizable turnout advantage in the May primary and what it could mean for November. 

One note about congressional health care plans: they aren’t “free,” as Bourdeaux’s ad suggests. Members of Congress purchase insurance off of Obamacare’s exchanges, where they receive a roughly 72 percent discount off their premiums. That taxpayer-funded discount is actually less than the average employer-provided plan, according to Marketplace. Bourdeaux used a clip from a town hall Woodall held in 2011 in which he incorrectly stated his coverage was free, comments Democrats pounced on at the time. 

Some Republican lawmakers, meanwhile, have disputed the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that 23 million more people would be uninsured under the House GOP’s plan compared to Obamacare. 

Here’s a transcript: 

“The illness that took my father also drained my parents’ retirement income to pay for his care. 

In Congress, Rob Woodall voted to take coverage away from millions and make older people pay up to five times more for insurance. 

But Woodall’s taxpayer-funded health plan? He’s keeping it. ‘It’s because it’s free.’ 

As a policy expert and a mother, I believe every Georgian deserves affordable care. I’ll fight to lower insurance costs and protect coverage for preexisting conditions.” 

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is a senior reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's enterprise team, where she covers gender, the urban-rural divide and other...