Arkansas senator Mark Pryor is running on re-election on a controversial subject for Democrats in red states-Obamacare. The conservative Democratic senator is touting his yea vote for the Affordable Care Act in a recent campaign ad.
Pryor voted for the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act when it passed in 2009. The law has been controversial in Arkansas, a Republican-dominated state.
There have been critics of the law in Arkansas, including Pryor’s opponent, Republican representative Tom Cotton. Cotton said he wants to repeal Obamacare if he is elected.
Despite the criticism that the law is too intrusive and gives too much control to the government, there have been benefits to Arkansans. 8,000 residents had gotten coverage under the health law since May 1. The state’s private health care option also expanded Medicaid to low-income residents seeking to buy health care.
Pryor wants to walk the fine line between alienating conservative voters who have a negative view of Obamacare and appeasing voters satisfied with their health care coverage through the law. So in his latest ad, “Cancer”, he touts the benefits of Obamacare without mentioning the Affordable Care Act by name.
The commercial features Pryor’s father, former U.S. senator and Arkansas governor David Pryor. Pryor talked about how his son’s insurance company didn’t want to pay for Mark’s treatment when he battled cancer almost 20 years ago
“No one should be fighting an insurance company while you’re fighting for your life,” Senator Pryor says in the campaign ad. “That’s why I helped pass a law that prevents insurance companies from canceling your policy if you get sick, or deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.”
Even his opponent Cotton seems resigned to the fact that the Affordable Care Act is a success for some Arkansas residents. When asked if he would repeal Obamacare for Arkansans receiving expanded medical coverage, he gave a measured answer.
“We’ll see what we can do in terms of reforming it and potentially protecting people who’ve already received some of the benefits,” said Cotton.