A new ad from the Heller campaign is a panicked attempt to obscure his real record on health care and pre-existing conditions… and no one’s buying it.
The bill that Heller recently introduced would put those protections for pre-existing conditions back in place should the court strike them down. But health-care policy experts are cautioning that the bill may still leave sick patients without the care they need because it doesn’t include one key part of the ACA’s protections for pre-existing conditions.
Heller also says in the ad that he is fighting to “increase funding for Nevadans who need it most,” pointing to a health-care proposal best known as Graham-Cassidy-Heller that would have taken the money allocated by the Affordable Care Act and instead turned it into a block grant to be doled out to the states to use as they see fit.
Proponents and opponents of the measure have argued about whether or not the proposal would actually increase funding to the state… opponents said Nevada would actually receive $639 million less in 2026 than it would under the current law in 2026, saying that that calculation is the more relevant comparison.
However, Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said that the GOP bill would still allow insurers to exclude coverage of pre-existing conditions altogether, making the protections in the measure “something of a mirage.”
In addition, the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson ObamaCare repeal and replacement bill that Heller backed also took fire last year for its provisions on pre-existing conditions. That measure would have allowed states to waive ObamaCare’s protections against people with pre-existing conditions being charged higher premiums.
Dick Woodruff, vice president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said last year that he was “extremely worried” about the bill’s effect on cancer patients.
Heller says in the ad that voters should compare his record to Rosen’s… Rosen’s campaign said it is false to say that Rosen has not proposed actions on health care, noting she introduced measures to cap out of pocket prescription drug costs and to authorize the House counsel to intervene to defend ObamaCare in court against the GOP lawsuit.
But experts have said that the repeal efforts considered in the Senate last year would have rolled back protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
For instance, the Graham-Cassidy bill would return regulation of pre-existing condition protections to states instead of requiring a federal rule as Obamacare does. Under Graham-Cassidy, states would not have to install pre-existing condition protections, such as preventing insurers from charging sick people higher premiums than healthy customers.
Heller also co-sponsored a recent bill to preserve pre-existing condition protections if they are struck down in a legal challenge brought by 20 states against Obamacare. However, critics have said the bill doesn’t go far enough in ensuring that other patient protections in Obamacare like coverage of essential health benefits are protected.
Rosen for Nevada spokesperson Molly Forgey released the following statement:
“No matter how much he tries to rewrite history, Senator Heller has repeatedly pushed Republican plans that would weaken coverage protections for people with pre-existing conditions and slash health care funding for Nevada. Those are the facts, and that’s why Senator Heller had no choice but to try to lie about his record. Nevada voters won’t be fooled.”