Cramer Campaign Asks Heitkamp to Take Down “Discredited” Ad About Pre-Existing Conditions

Senator Heidi Heitkamp appears in an ad her opponent's campaign manager describes as "ridiculous" and "discredited." YouTube

Pat Finken, manager for Congressman Kevin Cramer’s U.S. Senate campaign, has sent the Heitkamp campaign an email asking them to take down an ad he says has been “discredited.”

Here’s a screenshot of the email he sent Heitkcamp campaign manager Libby Schneider, which he also provided to me:

Here’s the ad Finken is talking about. It’s called “Denise” and it hits Cramer on the idea that his opposition to Obamacare puts the health insurance of over 300,000 North Dakotans with pre-existing conditions at risk.

It’s worth noting that last week Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread told me that the use of this number was “irresponsible at best.”

The Associated Press fact checked the ad and found the Heitkamp campaign overstated their case:

Heitkamp’s estimate on the number of North Dakotans with pre-existing conditions is a bit higher than the state’s figure of 275,000. The senator’s estimate comes from the left-leaning Center for American Progress, but both the center and North Dakota’s insurance department worked from an analysis by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

But the number of those people who might have had problems getting health insurance before the federal overhaul __ and who would have trouble if it were to be repealed __ is far smaller. That’s because most of the state’s residents are insured through their employer or the government.

The fact checkers at Politifact reached a conclusion similar to the Associated Press.

“Clearly, your ridiculous attack on Kevin Cramer grossly exaggerates the number of people impacted by any changes to ACA and is designed to create fear among those with pre-existing conditions in a cynical attempt to sway the voters of North Dakota,” Finken writes in the conclusion of his email to Schneider. “The people of North Dakota deserve better. Please pull the ad down immediately.”

I’ve emailed Schneider requesting comment. If she provides one I’ll include it in this post, but Senator Heitkamp and her staff don’t typically respond to my inquiries.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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