U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and the Nevada Democratic Party are attacking his GOP opponent Sharron Angle on the divisive issue of health care.
Like many conservative Republicans, Angle is against the government requiring insurance companies to cover specific things, or so-called mandated coverage.
In his latest campaign ad released Friday, Reid slams Angle for her stance.
The TV spot points to the former Reno assemblywoman’s 2003 vote against a bill to mandate insurance coverage for colonoscopies, which can detect cancer. Angle and Sparks Assemblyman Don Gustavson, another fiscal conservative, both voted "no" on SB183, which passed 39-2.
"Sharron Angle’s against making insurance companies cover colon cancer tests, mammograms or anything else," the ad narrator says. "That’s not just extreme, it’s dangerous."
The ad comes the same week the Nevada Democratic Party distributed a video of Angle saying insurance companies shouldn’t be forced to cover autism either.
"Take off the mandates for coverage in the state of Nevada and all over the United States," Angle says in the video from a speech she gave in 2009 at a Tea Party rally in Winnemucca. "You know what I’m talking about. You’re paying for things that you don’t even need."
"They just passed the latest one," Angle continues, then makes a reference to autism, using her fingers to make quotes around the term that describes a range of developmental disorders. "Everything they want to throw at us is covered under ‘autism’ so that’s a mandate that you have to pay for. How about maternity leave? I’m not going to have any more babies but I sure get to pay for it on my insurance. Those are the kinds of things we want to get rid of."
On autism, Angle apparently was referring to a new 2009 law requiring insurance companies to cover it in Nevada, which joined about two dozen states that mandate such coverage.
The Reid campaign and the Democratic Party have portrayed Angle’s comments as callous and have sent out press releases from autism groups denouncing Angle.
The Angle campaign dismissed the latest attacks, which come as Reid fights to retain his seat and polls show him in a dead heat with Angle.
"Sharron believes that Americans deserve the best medical coverage and treatment," Angle spokesman Jerry Stacy said in a statement. "The real issue continues to be about costly unfunded government mandates that drive up the cost of health insurance and reduce the level of care, policies that are forced upon citizens by career politicians like Harry Reid through unwanted legislation like Obamacare."
At a Senate candidate forum Thursday night in Las Vegas, Angle promised to try and repeal President Barack Obama’s new heath care law that includes a bevy of mandates.
"There are solutions to insurance costs and they don’t reside in government," Angle said. "They reside in the free market."
Angle, like other Republicans, proposes doing away with mandated coverage and spurring competition by allowing people to buy insurance across state lines and by creating insurance pools so businesses, school districts and other entities can share risks. She also calls for tort reform, or law changes that could reduce high insurance costs.
Health care is a difficult issue for Reid in Nevada, where more than half of voters oppose the new health care law, according to several polls.
Reid pushed the legislation through Congress over objections from Republicans and despite concerns from the public about the effect the new law will have. Some states have sued the federal government to stop the law, which critics say is unconstitutional because it will require people to buy insurance.