Baer’s video highlights her mother’s struggles after a 1992 car crash when Baer was a middle school student.
“I know from firsthand experience from what my mother went through that someone can be healthy one day and very ill the next…People need to know that if something comes up in their life, they’re not going to have to worry about making a choice between their health and their family’s economic well-being,” Baer says.
Baer, an attorney who grew up in Palm Beach Gardens, is a granddaughter of the founder of the Baer’s Furniture chain. She was a policy adviser to former U.S. Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry andto Samantha Power, who was U.S. ambassador the United Nations during the Obama administration.
Mast is one of 11 House Republicans across the nation targeted in a wave of radio and cable TV ads being released today by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The ads take aim at votes by Mast and his GOP colleagues to replace President Barack Obama‘s signature Affordable Care Act.
The DCCC says it is spending at least $100,000 nationally on the three-week campaign.
The TV spots say House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and “Washington’s establishment Republicans” will never stop “coming after your health care…They’ll never change their ways. So the rest of us have to change our Congress.”
The radio spots specifically mention Mast.
“Your Congressman, Brian Mast, hasn’t stopped trying to repeal your health care. No more waiting. Let’s change Washington.
Aronberg recently ruled out running for the District 18 seat. Democrats Pam Keith and Lauren Baer have opened campaigns, with Baer saying she’s already raised $250,000 after launching an exploratory committee in August and a formal campaign Sept. 12.
Tallahassee Mayor Gillum — who raised early campaign cash from liberal luminariesGeorge Soros, Jane Fonda and Norman Lear — has tried to position himself as the most progressive candidate in a three-way Democratic primary field that includes former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham and Winter Park businessman Chris King.
“As we move forward with ensuring every American has affordable health care coverage, I stand with Senator Sanders ‘Medicare for All’ proposal. It moves us closer to affordable healthcare as a right for everyone in Florida and this country, and I’m proud to support it,” Gillum said in a statement today timed to coincide with the latest collapse of Republican efforts to overhaul Obamacare.
The bond of former state insurance commissioners transcends partisanship, according to Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
In the aftermath of the Republican-controlled Senate’s failure to enact a long-promised repeal and replacement of Obamacare, onetime Florida Insurance Commissioner Nelson said today he’s working with Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins — another former state insurance commish — on “a new bipartisan approach to health care.”
Nelson, who’s up for re-election next year, released a statement today announcing he’s working with a small bipartisan group of senators that includes Collins, who was one of three Republicans to vote against a GOP-backed “skinny repeal” bill.
Here’s a statement from Nelson released by his office: “While the imminent disaster of 20 percent rate hikes and 16 million people losing coverage has been avoided by the defeat of the Republican’s health care bill, now is the time to come together and start working in a bipartisan way to stabilize the market and make health care more affordable.
“Sen. Collins and I have discussed this issue many times and we are now working together. As former state insurance commissioners, we know how complicated this issue is and we are working with a small bipartisan group of senators equally dedicated to finding real solutions. This group of senators met for dinner the other night to start sharing our ideas and discussing a path forward. While we still have a long way to go, we are starting to work together to try to get this done in a bipartisan way.”
WASHINGTON — Florida Gov. Rick Scott‘s schedule here today includes meetings with Vice President Mike Pence and at least five senators, including Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, to discuss the Senate health care bill.
But the governor hasn’t penciled in any time with his state’s senior senator, Democrat Bill Nelson.
Scott, who wants changes to the Senate bill so Florida gets a larger share of Medicaid payments, said talking to Nelson would be a waste of time.
“He’s not engaged in the health care debate,” Scott said of Nelson today in an interview with The Palm Beach Post. “What have you seen him come out and do other than oppose doing anything about this?”
Scott continued: “I’m going to focus on the people that are actually doing something with regard to the health care debate. The Republicans have a bill and I’m going to focus on the people that are actually trying to get something done. I appreciate that Donald Trump is focused on repealing and replacing Obamacare. I know Mike Pence is. I know the Senate Republicans are trying to get something done. I’m going to focus my time on trying to get something done.”
Nelson offered this response through his office this morning: “Rick Scott is supporting and urging Republican senators to vote for a bill that makes huge cuts to Medicaid, takes coverage away from 22 million of people and allows insurance companies to hike rates for older Americans. If he really cared about the people of Florida, he’d be doing the exact opposite of what he’s doing now.”
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio will decide whether to support a Republican health care bill “on the basis of how it impacts Florida,” his office said this afternoon.
Rubio’s office characterized the just-unveiled legislation as a work in progress as four other Senate Republicans — Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — issued a joint statement saying they are “not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor.”
Overturning former President Barack Obama‘s signature health care law was a top campaign pledge of President Donald Trump and much of the GOP. The House has passed a version that Trump initially celebrated but later reportedly called “mean.”
Republicans hold a 52-seat majority in the Senate, so more than two GOP defections will doom the bill if Democrats are united against it.
Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who’s up for re-election next year, blasted the GOP legislation and the way it was drafted.
“Now we know why they tried to keep this secret,” Nelson said in a statement released by his office. “This bill is just as bad as the House bill, taking coverage away from millions of people and making huge cuts to Medicaid. If that weren’t enough, it also allows insurance companies to hike rates for older Americans. Fixing our nation’s health care system shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We should be working together, not plotting behind closed doors to make it worse.”
Rubio has already spoken with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land-O’Lakes, and invited their staffs to Washington “to help us formulate changes and amendments to this proposal,” said a statement released by Rubio’s office. Rubio also wants to hear from health care providers, insurers and patient advocates, his office said.
Here’s the full statement from Rubio’s office:
“Senator Rubio will decide how to vote on health care on the basis of how it impacts Florida. He has already spoken to Governor Scott, Senate President Negron and Speaker Corcoran about the first draft of this proposal. He has instructed his staff to share with state leaders the first draft and has asked them to run numbers and provide input on how this initial proposal would impact Florida’s Medicaid program and individual insurance marketplace. He has invited them to send staff to Washington next week to help us formulate changes and amendments to this proposal. He will continue to reach out for input and suggested changes from Florida providers, insurers and patient advocate groups.”
Thursday’s vote “will haunt Mast through Election Day,” vowed Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Mast has already begun pushing back hard against critics.
In a speech on the House floor Thursday, Mast said he has a pre-existing condition — he lost his legs and suffered other injuries from a bomb blast while serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan — and is “the staunchest advocate for people out there that have pre-existing conditions.” Mast said claims that people with pre-existing conditions will lose coverage under the GOP plan are coming from “the exact same group of people that went out there and lied to the face of every single American” about the Affordable Care Act in 2010.
“That is who’s going out there selling these lies against my party. And I resent that completely because we have come up with a plan, with a strategy to go out there and save health care for the American people and I couldn’t be more proud of that.”
Mast was elected in November to the District 18 seat formerly held by Democrat Patrick Murphy. District 18 is roughly 38 percent Republican and 34 percent Democrat. Trump carried the district with 53 percent in November. Mast — who called for repealing and replacing Obamacare during his campaign — got 53.6 percent to defeat Democrat Randy Perkins.
No Democratic candidate has emerged to challenge Mast in 2018, but Dems and their allies have their eye on the district.
Said the DCCC’s Lujan: “Make no mistake about it: Mast must face the music, look his constituents in the eye, and answer for the mess they [sic] created. There is no question that this bill will cause incredible pain for hardworking Americans, particularly those fighting to make ends meet, and this vote will haunt Mast through Election Day.”
EMILY’s List, the group that raises money for female candidates who support abortion rights, also blasted Mast.
“Rep. Mast should get ready for town halls next week while he is on recess,” said EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock. “The American people have made it clear that they do not support this bill – and soon, Republicans will find out that Americans do not support them either. EMILY’s List is aggressively recruiting strong, pro-choice Democratic women to take their place in districts across the country – and Rep. Mast and his fellow Republican members of Congress are right to be worried. This cruel vote was a mistake they’ll learn in 2018.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee applauded Mast for keeping his promise to get rid of Obamacare.
“With health care, having options is key. A one-size-fits-all approach like Obamacare has proven to be failure. It was a law crumbling under its own weight, and crushing Americans and small businesses with burdensome regulations. We applaud Brian Mast for upholding his commitment to the people of his District,” said NRCC spokeswoman Maddie Anderson.
An emerging Republican plan to overhaul Obamacare would take away some coverage guarantees of the Affordable Care Act but apparently preserve those protections for members of Congress.
That has the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launching ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that target freshman Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, and 29 other House Republicans in districts the Democrats see as potential pickups next year.
Mast hasn’t taken a position on the newest Republican proposal, but the DCCC ads characterize his stance as “no protections for pre-existing conditions unless you’re a member of Congress.”
On the latest legislation, Mast spokesman Brad Stewart said, “Congressman Mast hasn’t had the opportunity to read the bill yet and he will make a decision after he’s had the chance to review the bill and talk to constituents about how it will affect them.”
As for exempting members of Congress, Stewart said Mast “certainly thinks that for members of Congress, their health care should be treated the same way as everyone else.”
Mast, a wounded Army combat veteran, gets his health care through the Veterans Affairs system rather than the congressional plan, Stewart said.
A “Healthcare Panel and Discussion” is part of the agenda, but Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said Wednesday night that Ryan will not be laying out any new plan for reviving the health care overhaul that collapsed in the House last week and that President Donald Trump has predicted will be revived.
“We are not unveiling a new plan in Florida,” Strong said. “It’s a political event and we are not unveiling a plan there.”
In a call with donors this week, The Washington Post reported that Ryan said: “When we’re in Florida, I will lay out the path forward on health care and all the rest of the agenda. I will explain how it all still works, and how we’re still moving forward on health care with other ideas and plans. So please make sure that if you can come, you come — it will be good to look at what can feasibly get done and where things currently stand. But know this: We are not giving up.”
The failure of the Republican-controlled House to bring health care legislation to a vote was a stinging setback for the GOP Trump after years of pledging to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Trump this week voiced optimism on striking a health care deal.
“I know that we are all going to make a deal on health care,” Trump said Tuesday night at a White House gathering for senators and their spouses. “That’s such an easy one. I have no doubt that that’s going to happen very quickly. We have all been promising it — Democrat, Republican — to the public.”