Sen. John McCain, in a fierce reelection battle, is making Obamacare a key issue in his campaign, hammering the healthcare law's limited options and skyrocketing premium hikes, Politico
"I think it's a very strong issue," the Arizona Republican tells Politico. "Eight of the counties in my state will now only have one [health insurer]. They're staring at 65 percent increases in their premiums. They're very upset."
The strategy puts him to the right of his GOP primary opponent — and hits his Democratic opponent Rep. Ann Kirpatrick's 2010 vote for the law that she described as one she's "most proud about," Politico reports.
It also sets him apart from colleagues up for re-election — GOP Sens. Kelly Ayotte, Rob Portman, Pat Toomey and Ron Johnson — who all played up their opposition to Obamacare in 2010, but this year are focusing on national security, the economy and the opioid epidemic, Politico reports.
McCain may have more reason to focus on President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.
According to Politico, two insurers — UnitedHealth and Humana — have plans to leave the state's Obamacare exchange next year, leaving Blue Cross Blue Shield the only option for customers in eight counties.
In addition, Blue Cross has asked state regulators to approve an average rate hike of 65 percent, while others in the state are seeking double-digit rate increases, Politico reports.
The state's co-op insurance plan
went belly up, sending 60,000 customers looking for new coverage last year.
McCain hit the issue hard in his first TV ad
"The McCain folks have tapped into a serious concern in the marketplace. They've got real numbers — it's not theoretical," Tom Miller, a health policy expert at the American Enterprise Institute, tells Politico.
"He's got a very tough race, a changing electorate, he has to deal with the Trump stuff — this allows him to say something a little more aggressive and be on the attack."
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