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David Shapiro releases new ad hitting Vern Buchanan over health care vote

The 30-second spot will begin airing in the Tampa market Tuesday.
Screen grab from a campaign ad released by Democratic congressional candidate David Shapiro on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. Credit: David Shapiro for Congress.
Published Oct. 2, 2018

Another day, another Democratic candidate bashing a Republican over health care.

Democrat David Shapiro released a new advertisement Tuesday criticizing incumbent Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan for his vote for the 2017 American Health Care Act.

"After taking millions from insurance companies, car salesman Vern Buchanan and Washington Republicans voted to give us less," the narrator in the ad says over jangly guitar strumming. "Letting insurance companies deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, and drop people who get sick."

Republicans who voted for the AHCA, which would have cut Medicaid spending, repealed the Affordable Care Act and replaced it with a less robust system of government health care subsidies, have become the targets of frequent criticism from Democrats. Tuesday proved that Buchanan is no exception.

Previous coverage: Environment becomes latest flashpoint in race for Vern Buchanan's congressional seat

In response to the ad, Buchanan's campaign said it was hypocritical of Shapiro to bash Buchanan over accepting  over half a million dollars in campaign contributions from insurance companies when the Democrat has personally invested thousands in those same companies.

"There's a reason why former President Obama snubbed Shapiro after issuing endorsements for 20 other Florida candidates – Shapiro cannot be trusted even by his fellow Democrats," Buchanan spokesman Max Goodman said in a statement. "He claims he'll stand up to the insurance companies but personally invests in the leading health insurance companies in the country."

Shapiro's financial disclosure shows he has a few thousand dollars invested in health care giants like Aetna.

Still, Shapiro's ad is one more piece of evidence that Democrats believe they have a winning issue in health care. Recent polls show that health care is a top concern of Florida voters. And last week, Democrats all over the state held events to criticize Republicans who voted to gut protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

The American Health Care Act included a provision that prevented insurance companies from discriminating against sick customers, but it included no rules against charging those patients substantially more.

The 16th Congressional District seat sought by Buchanan and Shapiro stretches through parts of Sarasota, Manatee and Hillsborough counties.

Watch the ad, released by Shapiro in conjunction with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, here. It will air starting Tuesday in the Tampa media market.