ATTACK ADS: ‘Misleading’ AFL-CIO Spot Targets Rep. Bilbray on Prescription Drugs
An AFL-CIO television ad campaign against Rep. Brian Bilbray (R- Calif.) is "misleading" seniors, according to a San Diego Union-Tribune editorial. The editorial asserts that the AFL-CIO "think[s] the way to defeat Republicans is to scare seniors and other important constituencies into voting against them." The commercials state that Bilbray "voted against guaranteeing seniors' prescription medicine under Medicare and backed a private insurance plan that will leave millions without coverage." But the editorial argues that Bilbray voted for a bill that would offer "prescription drug benefits to nearly 40 million elderly and disabled Americans on Medicare." The editorial explains that the GOP measure Bilbray voted for, which passed the House, expands Medicare through a market-based approach by providing government subsidies to private insurance companies to cover the drug costs of the disabled and elderly, "an insurance product that currently does not exist." The editorial also calls attention to the fact that the AFL-CIO's expenses are not capped by federal campaign contribution limits: "if it's not unsavory enough that the labor federation is deliberately misrepresenting Bilbray's stance on prescription drugs, it also hides the fact that it is behind the attack ads." The editorial concludes by pointing out that the AFL-CIO unsuccessfully targeted Bilbray in 1996 and that "the independent-minded voters in San Diego ... will decide for themselves whom they want to represent them, rather than have outside special interests tell them how to vote" (8/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.