DECATUR — Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, who is challenging Taylorville Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis in the 13th Congressional District, is launching a legal challenge against an attack ad that accuses her of supporting a "radical" health care plan.
An attorney for Londrigan has issued a cease-and-desist letter to television stations by email, demanding they discontinue the ad because it is false, according to the letter obtained by the Decatur Herald & Review. The ad is produced and paid for by the Congressional Leadership Fund, the Republican Super PAC dedicated to keeping the party’s House majority.
“This advertisement is false, misleading, and deceptive,” says Michael Kreloff, who identifies himself in the letter as counsel to Londrigan. “On behalf of the Londrigan campaign, we ask that you refuse to continue to air this advertisement.”
In the 30-second spot, a female voice tells viewers that Londrigan’s policies on health care could end employer-provided insurance and Medicare as we know it.
"Londrigan’s radical health care plan could put government in control of your care, cost $32 trillion, and nearly double the national debt," says the commercial.
The $32 trillion figure comes from a 2016 study from the Urban Institute that looked into the cost of a single-payer system, also known as Medicare for all.
Yet Londrigan has never said she would fully support such a plan. In past interviews with the Herald & Review and in public appearances, Londrigan has said she would instead support a public option, or other fixes to the Affordable Care Act.
In a Feb. 25, 2018 candidate questionnaire in the State Journal-Register, Londrigan referred to Medicaid-for-All as a "good option ... being discussed."
The comment came as part of a five-part plan to address health care coverage and costs. "I believe we should introduce a 'public option' for health insurance that could compete with private insurance companies," Londrigan said in the questionnaire. "There are good options, such as Medicare X and Medicaid-for-All being discussed but we have to get the right representation in Congress to make a 'public option' reality."
She told the Champaign News-Gazette that "stabilizing the ACA is a critical step forward, then introducing a public option for health insurance, such as Medicare X, can provide much needed affordable access to health care.”
It’s these complimentary comments about single-payer that Republicans are citing as proof that Londrigan could support the policy.
Davis’ spokeswoman Ashley Phelps said voters do not know where Londrigan stands on the issue.
"It's completely dishonest to tell people one thing so they vote for you in the primary and then walk it back" after realizing that the position is unpopular with voters, Phelps said.