Updated: September 17, 2020 10:26 PM
Created: September 17, 2020 08:14 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- New Mexicans watching television recently have been hit with attack ads on the issue of healthcare by the U.S. Senate candidates, with one even accusing the other of lying. While they may appear to be mean-spirited, University of New Mexico Political Science Professor Lonna Atkeson said she believes voters can use the ads to compare and contrast visions on a topic of great importance.
“Contrast ads are actually helpful to voters because they are delineating differences in positions between candidates,” Atkeson said.
In a recent ad that is paid for by Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Ben Ray Lujan, a health care professional claims Republican candidate Mark Ronchetti’s plan would gut pre-existing protections in insurance plans.
The ad states:
Healthcare worker: "I see it every day--families deciding between their healthcare and paying bills. That's why Mark Ronchetti worries me. He supports Trump's plan to gut protections of pre-existing conditions like cancer and heart disease, leaving too many New Mexicans with crippling debt. I'm supporting Ben Ray Lujan. He'll protect coverage for pre-existing conditions and lower prescription drug costs so that New Mexicans can stay healthy without breaking the bank.
Ben Ray Lujan: I'm Ben Ray Lujan and I approve this message.
The ad points to remarks Ronchetti made in a primary debate in Artesia, captured by media outlet KSVP. Ronchetti stated, “We need to replace Obamacare, but beyond that, what we need to do here is give more people influence over the money that is spent on their behalf.”
Because protecting people with pre-existing conditions was first built into the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called Obamacare, Lujan believes that repealing Obamacare would also mean a repeal of pre-existing conditions protections. President Trump is on record saying he wants to repeal Obamacare, but would leave protections for pre-existing conditions in place. However, neither President Trump nor Ronchetti have explained how they would insure the millions of people would lose healthcare if the ACA is repealed.
In response to Lujan’s ad, Ronchetti released an ad featuring his daughter Eva.
Ava Ronchetti: I'm Ava. I have a pre-existing condition and my dad would never let me down.
Mark Ronchetti: Ben Ray Lujan is doing what these guys always do. He's lying. I will always protect pre-existing conditions, but I will not support is Ben Ray Lujan's scheme to force every American onto a government healthcare plan, eliminating choices for patients and raising taxes on everyone. I'm Mark Ronchetti and I approve this message.
Ava Ronchetti: Because healthcare is personal to us.
Mark Ronchetti: And I know it is to you too.
The “scheme” that Ronchetti refers to is Medicare For All, a plan to expand Medicare eligibility for any American. Many Democrats, including Lujan support the plan. Lujan publicly stated his support through a press release that is posted on his congressional webpage. However, Democrats differ in the application of Medicare For All. For example, while running for president, Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-VT, wanted the Medicare For All plan to be single payer system, completely controlled by the government. Other Democrats wanted to expand Medicare eligibility while allowing private insurance carriers to continue to compete in the market. Democrats have also differed on how to pay for the proposed expansion of this government program. The idea has never been voted on in Congress.
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