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Begich pushes back on health care ad

Posted: November 22, 2013 - 1:06am

ANCHORAGE — Sen. Mark Begich’s campaign is pushing back against an ad featuring a woman who speaks of him like he’s her senator when she’s actually an actress.

Begich campaign manager Susanne Fleek-Green called the ad from Americans for Prosperity a “phony attempt to snooker Alaskans.”

Americans for Prosperity, which began with money from billionaire businessmen brothers David Koch and Charles Koch, has launched ads targeting Begich and five other Democrats over the federal health care law, the Anchorage Daily News reported .

The woman in the Alaska ad says she trusted President Barack Obama and Begich on the health care law, but now “millions are losing their health care.” Viewers are then told by a man’s voice to call Begich and “stop Obamacare.”

Begich, a first-term senator, is expected to face a tough re-election fight next year. Republicans have seen winning his seat as critical to their efforts to reclaim control of the Senate, and have been making Begich’s support of the health care law a major issue.

While he has repeatedly defended the law, Begich has also supported or proposed ideas aimed at making the law work better, including introducing a bill that would create a new tier of insurance policies through the online marketplaces to expand affordable options.

In a radio ad of his own airing in Alaska, Begich says he’s been frustrated with the rocky rollout of the exchanges but believes ensuring health coverage is within the reach of everyone is important. He says he had to go to the federally facilitated online marketplace “twice a day for a month to get signed up.”

Fleek-Green said Begich chose a plan with a monthly premium of $594, including dental care, and enrolled through the site available to Alaskans rather than a Washington, D.C. exchange open to members of Congress.

In the ad, Begich says that when his wife was pregnant with their son in 2002, the family could only afford catastrophic coverage.

“It’s why I’m working to fix what’s wrong in the law without throwing out what’s right,” Begich says in the ad.

Matt Larkin, an Anchorage political consultant and president of Dittman Research, said it’s smart for Republicans to challenge Begich on the health care issue but that, alone, isn’t enough.

He said the law may have less impact in Alaska than elsewhere due to the number of military members and federal and state workers who have employer-provided insurance. Larkin isn’t working for any candidates in the Alaska Senate race.

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Information from: Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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