MEMO: One year later, Senator Spineless can’t escape his broken health care promises


To: Interested parties

From: Danny Kazin, Rosen for Nevada campaign manager

Date: Friday, July 27, 2018

Subject: One year later, Senator Spineless can’t escape his broken health care promises

One year ago today, Sen. Dean Heller broke his promise to protect Nevadans’ health care. Heller’s tortured flip-flops exposed him as a spineless partisan politician, and the damage is still haunting his faltering campaign.

After standing next to Gov. Brian Sandoval and vowing to protect Nevadans’ health care, Heller caved to pressure from Republicans in Washington and flipped. Heller voted for an ill-conceived GOP scheme to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that would have spiked premiums and slashed coverage. That same day, Heller added his support to another failed radical plan that would have also reduced coverage and increased costs for millions, gutted Medicaid, and slashed protections for pre-existing conditions.

Dean Heller’s dishonest reversals all add up to the biggest broken promise in modern Nevada political history. One year later, he “is still trying to recover from last year’s health care debacle” and hasn’t been able to get his re-election bid back on track.

Health care will be the defining issue of the 2018 election, and the Rosen campaign has been communicating to voters for months the stark difference between Jacky Rosen’s record of bipartisan solutions and Dean Heller’s spineless broken promises on health care, including an ad the campaign launched today.


PROMISE: “I’m telling you right now, I can not support a piece of legislation that takes insurance away from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans.”

BROKEN: From ‘skinny repeal’ to Graham-Cassidy-Heller, these reckless GOP health care plans would have spiked the uninsured rate and caused massive coverage losses over the next decade.

Reno Gazette-Journal: After weeks of waffling, Heller votes ‘yes’ on failed ‘skinny repeal’ of Obamacare

Vox: GOP promised lower premiums, more competition. Skinny repeal delivers the opposite.

POLITICO: CBO: ‘Skinny’ repeal could boost uninsured by 16 million

CNN: CBO: Number of insured ‘reduced by millions’ under GOP health bill


PROMISE: “We need assurances that people with pre-existing conditions will be protected.”

BROKEN: Not only does the Graham-Cassidy-Heller repeal bill weaken coverage protections for pre-existing conditions… Heller is now refusing to stand up against the Trump Administration’s effort to invalidate the ACA’s pre-existing conditions protections in a pending federal lawsuit.

PolitiFact: Graham-Cassidy, the GOP alternative to Obamacare, weakens protections for pre-existing conditions

Washington Post: Cassidy-Graham plan undercuts GOP’s promise to protect health coverage for preexisting conditions

Vox: How Cassidy-Graham brings back preexisting conditions


PROMISE: “Throughout the health care debate, I have made clear that I want to make sure the rug is not pulled out from under Nevada or the more than 200,000 Nevadans who received insurance for the first time under Medicaid expansion.”

BROKEN: Heller joined GOP senators in publicly supporting a seven-year phase-out of Medicaid expansion funds. Then, Heller went a step further by helping introduce a repeal bill himself that would have gutted Medicaid funding for Nevada.

The Hill: Sen. Heller supports seven-year phase-out of Medicaid expansion funds

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Heller, other GOP senators urge 7-year phaseout of Medicaid expansion

TPM: After Medicaid Dance This Summer, Heller Backs New Bill That Would Gut Medicaid

The Nevada Independent: Sandoval doubles down on criticism of Heller-sponsored measure; state analysis highlights up to $2 billion loss

Vox: I’ve covered the GOP repeal plans since day one. Graham-Cassidy is the most radical.


PROMISE: “If you want my support… you gotta make sure the Republican governors that have expanded Medicaid sign off on it. I’ve been saying that for months. Where is Gov. Sandoval? What does he think?”

BROKEN: Instead of listening to input from Nevada’s Republican governor like he said he would, Heller caved to Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell. Heller voted for one reckless repeal plan even after Sandoval publicly opposed it, and then he helped introduce his own radical repeal bill that was also publicly opposed by Sandoval.

Reno Gazette-Journal: Sandoval urges against ‘skinny repeal,’ calls for bipartisan health care reform

The Nevada Independent: Sandoval doubles down on criticism of Heller-sponsored measure; state analysis highlights up to $2 billion loss

The Hill: Nevada GOP gov rips ObamaCare repeal bill: Flexibility it promises ‘a false choice’


PROMISE: “We’ll have a procedural motion that we don’t need to get into, but it’s called getting on the bill so that we can have a final vote… I’m just telling you this: if this is the bill, if this is the language on that procedural motion… I won’t be voting for it.”

BROKEN: Heller wound up supporting and voting for that key procedural motion that opened debate in the Senate on a series of toxic, dangerous plans to dismantle the ACA. Heller cast a deciding vote to open up that debate on the Senate floor.

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Heller votes yes to bring GOP health care bill to Senate floor

Axios: Heller a ‘yes’ on motion to proceed for ACA repeal

Fox News: “He went from no to yes in a matter of… seconds”

KLAS Las Vegas: “Senator Dean Heller will vote to proceed with the health care debate, that is a complete 180”

The Hill: “The stance is a bit of a turnaround for Heller. Just a month ago, he had warned that he opposed a motion to proceed”

The Nevada Independent: “His spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry… on why Heller supports a motion to proceed now but opposed it earlier”

BOTTOM LINE: This spineless behavior is everything voters hate about politicians.

Health care is the top issue for voters in the 2018 midterms, and Heller’s unpopular agenda to repeal the ACA has done irreparable damage to his re-election. At the same time, Jacky Rosen has offered a strong contrast on health care, focusing on her support for working together to fix the ACA and bring down costs for regular people.

In an election cycle that will be defined by health care, Nevadans don’t support Dean Heller’s agenda and they trust Jacky Rosen’s commonsense approach. Voters will have a clear choice between the two candidates in November, and they’ll hold Heller accountable for his self-serving reversals at their expense.