HUPAC Weekly Roundup

HUPAC Activity from Week Ending March 10, submitted by Anthony Perez, Manger of Health Underwriters Political Action Committee

The 2018 election is looming large on Capitol Hill as Congress debates the Republican led American Health Care Act which will largely replace the Affordable Care Act. Democrats are lining up their talking points and getting ready to attack any House member who may be looking to make the move up to the Senate in 2018. Many Democrats believe that the plan as currently proposed would be a political win for them. Democrats point to independent analysis that say anywhere between 6 to 15 million Americans may lose coverage under this plan due to the less generous tax credits and the capping of Medicaid dollars to the states.

The Democratic Senatorial Congressional Committee is already putting House members on notice that may challenge vulnerable incumbent Senators. Those include Indiana members Rep. Luke Messer and Rep. Jackie Walorski who may opt to run against Sen. Joe Donnelly. Rep. Fred Upton (MI) who may challenge Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Rep. Kevin Cramer (ND) who may look to unseat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Pat Tiberi (OH) who may look for a chamber promotion against Sen. Bob Casey.

As the 2018 races start to heat up an unlikely candidate is emerging to topple the oldest Senator currently serving in the chamber. The action film icon and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering a political comeback as an independent to challenge Democrat Dianne Feinstein who would be 85 in 2018 when she is up for re-election.

Many Republicans believe the former governor’s penchant for getting under President Donald Trump’s skin on social media is creating a profile for a possible run. Schwarzenegger who would be considered a liberal in today’s Republican party could present a significant contrast between himself and the President on issues such as climate change,  immigration and political reform.

Republicans are currently 20 percentage points behind in voter registration in the state having lost ground since Schwarzenegger held office from 2003 to 2011, but believe someone like the Governor who has a celebrity profile and is unchained from a political party could do well against an entrenched incumbent like Feinstein. The governor has not denied any speculation that he may look to run.

2018 will surely be an election based on President Trump’s policies just like 2010 was for President Obama, how successful candidates are in tying candidates and incumbents to the President’s policies will vary. Schwarzenegger will have a leg up on any independent or Republican candidate with name recognition since he has strongly opposed Trump from the beginning.

 Events this Week

 John Greene:

Meet and Greet for Rep. Jason Lewis, MN-02 (old John Kline seat) with special guests, Rep. Tom Emmer, MN-06, Erik Paulsen, MN-03 and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, LA-01. Had an opportunity to meet his health legislative assistant and have a brief discussion about health reform. Will not support employer exclusion cap. He serves on Education and Workforce Committee.

Rep. Tom Reed, NY-23 with special guest, new Ways & Means member, David Schweikert, AZ-06: attended a dinner and discussion about W&M markup, state of insurance industry and how to leverage technology in health care, a special interest of Rep. Schweikert.

Chris Hartmann:

Chris attended a luncheon with the Chief of Staff’s for Moderate Democratic Senators. They discussed the current political environment on healthcare, taxes and infrastructure. Office that were in attendance were Joe Donnelly (IN), Tom Carper (DE), Angus King (ME), Heidi   Heitkamp (ND).

A reception for Senator Chuck Schumer (NY) was held that Chris attended. Senator Schumer is the New Minority leader of the Senate. The Senator discussed the Supreme Court, political appointees, and healthcare.

Events Next Week

Events for Rep. Billy Long (MO-07), Rep. Jason Smith (MO-08), Rep. Ami Bera (CA-07), and New Democrat Coalition are on the calendar.