Priorities USA Action released a controversial new ad yesterday, featuring Joe Soptic, a former employee at GST Steel who lost his job and health benefits after Bain Capital closed the steel plant. Of particular interest, though, was the death of Soptic’s wife.
In the ad, he explains that “a short time after” losing his health insurance, he wife became ill. She didn’t acknowledge her symptoms for a while, but was eventually diagnosed with stage-four cancer. “There was nothing they could do for her,” Soptic said, “and she passed away in 22 days.”
A Mitt Romney spokesperson offered an unusual counterattack Wednesday to an ad in which a laid-off steelworker blames the presumptive GOP nominee for his family losing health care: If that family had lived in Massachusetts, it would have been covered by the former governor’s universal health care law.
“To that point, if people had been in Massachusetts, under Governor Romney’s health care plan, they would have had health care,” Andrea Saul, Romney’s campaign press secretary, said during an appearance on Fox News.
Let me get this straight: according to Romney’s chief spokesperson, this struggling family in Kansas would have been far better off if only they’d lived in a state with an individual mandate and government subsidies?
The problem isn’t that the argument is false. On the contrary, Saul is absolutely right and her boast is based entirely on fact. If the Soptic family in Kansas had been in Massachusetts under the Romney plan, Joe Soptic’s wife almost certainly would have been diagnosed and treated much earlier.
Rather, the problem is, the Romney campaign isn’t supposed to admit this out loud.
To put it mildly, the right isn’t pleased. Saul effectively made the argument that families that lose their jobs and health insurance are screwed unless (a) they live under Romneycare; or (b) they live under a fully-implemented Obamacare (i.e., Romneycare’s progeny).
I have a hunch this isn’t the message Team Romney hoped to convey to voters.