There are times when your humble D.C. correspondent is grateful that he is no longer a Western Pennsylvania television viewer, as yinz have been inundated with political ads -- and it's only August. Hate to be the bearer of more bad news, but another right-leaning group -- which formed just this year and counts Karl Rove among its advisers -- is hitting the airwaves starting Wednesday with an ad attacking Joe Sestak for his support of the health care reform bill, according to Tribune's excellent The Swamp blog. Tom Hamburger reports:
The ad is part of an expanding campaign by Crossroads Grassroots Policies Strategies, which does not have to reveal its donors, and sister group American Crossroads to influence the mid-term debate. The Pennsylvania buy comes on top of $2.1 million in similarly tough ads that started in recent days targeting the health care position of two other Democratic senate candidates -- Majority Leader Harry Reid and Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Robin Carnahan.
You may recall the Chamber of Commerce has already hit the airwaves statewide against Sestak. So far the outside spending has been mostly on the anti-Sestak side, but you can expect the unions to come to play in this one closer to Election Day. The ad, which features an overeating metaphor for spending, is below.
There are a few distortions in here worth mentioning. The ad claims the health care bill will cause families' insurance premiums to rise an average of $2,100. The Congressional Budget Office report cited in the ad does give that number, but says that's because, on average, more people per family will have insurance coverage under the bill. That figure also doesn't include government subsidies for lower income people to help them buy insurance, which would significantly reduce the figure.
Also the ad says "850,000 Pennsylvania seniors could lose their Medicare plan." That's a reference to privately administred Medicare Advantage plans that's easy to misinterpret. Because the bill would gradually reduce payments to private insurers to provide the plans, there is concern that there would be fewer Medicare Advantage offerings, and some seniors would have to go to standard Medicare. There are about 850,000 seniors in Pennsylvania enrolled in an advantage plan.