Republican candidate for Georgia governor Brian Kemp

TV ad says Kemp sided with insurers over breast cancer patients

State Democrats are out with a new television ad suggesting that Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp aligned himself with big insurance companies against coverage for breast cancer and pre-existing conditions.

The ad, which the Democratic Party of Georgia is paying for, features a breast cancer survivor who says insurance might not have covered her lifesaving mastectomy had Brian Kemp had his way.

It’s clearly a counterpunch to a pro-Kemp ad that started airing last week and credits the former legislator and Georgia’s secretary of state with intervening on behalf of Addy, a young kidney transplant recipient.

The plot

The new ad opens with a woman, identified only as Katherine, describing how she had an MRI in 2005 that revealed early signs of breast cancer.

She says she had a double mastectomy for what was confirmed to be cancer.

“That operation saved my life,” Katherine says. “But if Brian Kemp had his way, my insurance probably wouldn’t have covered it.”

She goes on to say that Kemp “sided with the big insurance companies, voting to deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions like me.”

The ad closes with the woman saying: “That’s as low as a politician can go. We can’t trust Brian Kemp.”

The context

In recent weeks, as campaigning in the governor’s race has intensified, allies of both Democrat Stacey Abrams and Kemp have been poking through each candidate’s legislative record. That’s the basis for GOP ads accusing Abrams of coddling sex offenders.

Last month, the state Democratic Party pointed to a 2005 bill supported by Kemp that would have allowed small businesses to offer stripped-down health insurance policies free of state-mandated coverage for such things as mastectomies. That legislation, Senate Bill 174, is what’s referenced in the new ad.

Records show Kemp voted in favor of passage of the bill, which was gutted by a bipartisan coalition of female state lawmakers.

In the Addy ad, which is still airing, a young girl and her mother describe the ordeal of the daughter’s kidney transplant. The mother says the insurance company was going to require them to go out of state for the transplant operation until Kemp intervened.

The reaction

Ryan Mahoney, a spokesman for the Kemp campaign, said the accusations made in the ad “are 100 percent false.”

“Brian Kemp believes that Georgians with pre-existing conditions should never be denied insurance coverage,” Mahoney said. “He has a plan to make sure every Georgian has access to quality, affordable health care.”

Watch the ad.

See other ads from the Kemp-Abrams race.

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