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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced the launch of a new digital campaign attacking the recent declaration by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Department of Justice would no longer defend key parts of the Affordable Care Act — including the highly popular provision that prevents insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions. Millions of Americans were able to access more affordable health insurance coverage after that signature change.
Democratic leaders in Congress are hoping the ads resonate ahead of the crucial midterms, especially among Latino families, who made the most gains in coverage under Obamacare than any other ethnic group in the country.
According to data compiled by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation focused on health care, millions of Hispanics gained health care through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare. The uninsured rate for working-age Latinos fell from 43 percent in 2010 to 25 percent in 2016, marking the largest ethnic-group decline among uninsured adults.
Despite the constant drumbeat by the Trump administration on stepped up immigration enforcement and a surge in media exposure of Central American migrant children detained at the border and separated from their parents, a recent poll by NBCNews/Wall Street Journal found Latinos are exhibiting among the lowest levels of interest in the November midterms.
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The poll shows signs of encouragement for Democratic groups, particularly Democratic women and whites with a college degree, at 65 percent and 61 percent respectively, but Hispanic interest in the midterm elections is second only to young voters, at 43 percent.
The DCCC announcement targets 20 competitive Republican congressional districts across the country that the DCCC feels is within their grasp, several with significant Hispanic populations that can tip the balance to the Democrats' favor.
Javier Gamboa, Hispanic media director for the DCCC, says that the organization is putting a focus on districts with electorally significant Latino populations.
"We need 24 seats to take back the House, and and we have 23 districts with at least 10 percent Latinos in them. We are targeting over 100 congressional districts, making this the largest battlefield for the House, ever."
Gamboa said diverse outreach will be a focus of DCCC strategy. “We deliberately chose these diverse districts to make voters well aware of the Republican attacks against our health care. This ad targets a diverse range of voters, including Latinos in key districts in California and Texas,” he said.
Democrats hope the ads targeting Republican attempts to weaken and dismantle Obamacare resonate with voters.
“House Republicans will stop at nothing to rip away affordable health care coverage from their constituents, and we are all at risk as long as they control the House,” said DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján in a statement. “After their failure to fully repeal our health care, Republicans persisted by gutting key parts of the Affordable Care Act in their tax bill, and are now using that opening to end protections for people with pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes and asthma."
The 20 congressional districts targeted by the ad are designed to hit competitive districts that also have a sizable population of nonelderly adults with pre-existing conditions, all at over 290,000 individuals.
A congressional district population is just over 700,000 residents. Among those targeted by the ad is Texas C.D. 23, represented by Rep. Will Hurd, a Republican. Hurd won his seat by under 1 percent of the vote, about 3,000 votes, even though Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in the district. While Hurd's district is over 70 percent Latino, the Latino share among eligible voters is just over 52 percent.