It wasn’t all that all that long ago when Democrats in competitive congressional races shrunk away from – or at least qualified – their support for Obamacare. But times have changed in Atlanta’s northern suburbs six months after Republicans paused their repeal effort.
Democrat Bobby Kaple is using his debut television ad in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District to unequivocally declare his support of the 2010 health care law. The former Atlanta TV anchor credits Obamacare for helping tamp down on medical expenses after his twins Camden and Alice were born premature.
“It cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep them alive,” Kaple says in the 30-second spot. “Thank God for Obamacare.”
The ad, which features photos and home videos of Kaple with his twins, ends with a promise that “there isn’t one reason why I’ll stop Donald Trump from repealing health care in Congress – there are two.”
The spot is slated to run first on local cable stations in the lead-up to the May 22 Democratic primary. Kaple’s top aide would not specify how much money the campaign planned put behind the spot but said it would be a "significant buy."
The ad shows just how much the politics surrounding health care have changed over the last year, particularly in competitive congressional districts where touting President Barack Obama’s signature accomplishment was once considered political suicide.
Roughly one-fifth of voters polled by the AJC earlier this year listed health care as the single most important issue facing Georgia today, second only to education.
Kaple has made the issue the centerpiece of his campaign ever since he announced his bid to challenge to U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, R-Roswell, last fall.
He’s not the only Handel opponent looking to message on the issue.
Democrat Lucy McBath, the first-time candidate and national gun control advocate, recently began discussing health care on social media and in an op-ed in Vanity Fair after focusing her initial messaging on firearms.
The race’s two other Democratic candidates also weighed in Monday night at a forum organized by the Jewish Democratic Women’s Salon.
Steven Griffin, a former CDC policy coordinator, said the government should expand healthcare coverage and lower costs by allowing Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate prices with drugmakers.
Businessman Kevin Abel agreed with Griffin but said he also wants to see Medicaid expanded in every state.
Handel was not yet a member of Congress when the House voted last spring to repeal and replace Obamacare, but she has been supportive of her party’s efforts to scrap the eight-year-old law.
“Premiums are skyrocketing, and we’re seeing a complete collapse in choice of plans as well as physicians,” Handel said during a televised debate last summer. “The status quo is unacceptable.”
The GOP abandoned its repeal effort in October after Senate Republicans could not rally behind a single proposal. But the party was able to end one of the law’s major tenets, the individual mandate, in the tax bill President Donald Trump signed into law in December. Meanwhile, Trump has taken other executive actions to loosen some of the law’s other regulations.
Kaple’s TV ad is the first 6th District spot we’ve come across this cycle. The region was pummeled with tens of millions of dollars of political advertising in the lead-up to last year’s record-breaking special election.
Watch the ad here:
Staff writer Jeremy Redmon contributed to this article.
Read more about the 6th District race:
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.