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GOP’s Kari Lake takes a chance, pushes Affordable Care Act repeal

As Kari Lake pushes ACA repeal, Arizonans concerned about health care suddenly have new reason to take a closer look at their gubernatorial race.


In Arizona’s highly competitive gubernatorial race, much of Kari Lake’s candidacy has been defined by her ridiculous election conspiracy theories and her intention to make voting even more difficult in the Grand Canyon State. But the Republican also occasionally shares her regressive policy preferences, too.

HuffPost reported, for example, that Lake this week called for repealing the Affordable Care Act.

“We need a red wave, and we need to overturn Obamacare and come up with something better,” Lake said at a campaign event in Scottsdale. Her comments drew no audible reaction from the crowd. “They were going to do that, remember? And one of our old Arizona senators went in late at night and gave the old thumbs down. We’ll never forget that,” she added, referring to the late Republican Sen. John McCain’s vote against repealing the law.

It might seem odd to see a GOP candidate for statewide office in Arizona slamming McCain so close to Election Day, but Lake is overtly hostile to the legacy of the late GOP senator, routinely dismissing him as an opponent of the party’s radicalized “MAGA” wing.

Nevertheless, her rhetoric targeting the Affordable Care Act was unexpected, largely because most Republicans have waved the white flag in the fight over “Obamacare.” Indeed, by all appearances, after more than a decade of relentless fighting, most of the GOP has abandoned its “repeal and replace” crusade.

“I think it’s probably here to stay,” Sen. John Cornyn recently told NBC News, referring to the ACA. Similarly, Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., a member of the Republican Study Committee, was asked whether he expects a new Republican House majority to pursue ACA repeal. “I don’t think that’s on the table,” he replied.

And yet, there was Lake this week, insisting on scrapping the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with “something better.” What might that be? She didn’t say, and with just days remaining in the election cycle, the far-right candidate hasn’t unveiled anything resembling a detailed health care plan.

This might very well give Arizonans pause — even those currently inclined to support Lake.

Remember, as Lake sees it, “Obamacare” needs to go, which in practical terms would mean hundreds of thousands of Arizonans would lose their health coverage. Her prospective constituents would also lose protections on pre-existing conditions, access to medications, and related ACA consumer benefits.

In the last midterm election cycle, Democrats focused heavily on health care as a national issue, and the strategy paid dividends in Arizona, where the party flipped both a U.S. Senate seat and a U.S. House seat.

It’s obviously late in the game to pitch voters on a new campaign issue, but Lake appears to have opened a provocative door, and Arizonans concerned about health care suddenly have new reason to take a closer look at their gubernatorial race.