CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Americans for Prosperity, an organization financed by the billionaire Koch brothers, began running a new television ad this week attacking Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., for supporting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Sen. Evan Jenkins, R-Cabell, who is running for the seat Rahall first won back in 1976, has also criticized the longtime congressman over the ACA.
"Evan knows that Obamacare will cost trillions, raise premiums and kill jobs," his campaign website states. "As the disastrous implementation of Obama's health law has proved, this is a classic boondoggle that will greatly damage our health care system.
But as a state senator, Jenkins repeatedly voted in favor of state laws to help implement some provisions of the ACA, including the West Virginia Health Benefit Exchange to facilitate the sale of health-insurance plans to West Virginia residents. The bill also helped small businesses enroll their employees in health plans.
Jenkins, executive director of the West Virginia State Medical Association, attended an American Medical Association meeting in Washington, D.C. in June 2009 where President Obama spoke.
"Jenkins said the physicians in the audience generally embraced the idea of an insurance exchange for consumers, and they were pleased when Obama assured them he had no plans to adopt a single-payer system like those in other countries," The State Journal reported on June 9, 2009.
As a West Virginia legislator in 2007, Jenkins voted for a law that increased the age for children to remain eligible for health insurance under their parents' plans until they were 25 -- similar to a provision in the national ACA. (The bill passed the state Senate 30-3.)
In 2006, Jenkins voted for health care legislation, proposed by then-Gov. Joe Manchin, to expand the Children's Health Insurance Program to help more children in low-income families.
The West Virginia State Medical Association has also supported some health-care reforms, including: expanding Medicaid, requiring insurance companies to cover maternity health care costs and preventing insurance companies from refusing health-care coverage to people with "pre-existing conditions."
In a statement provided to The Charleston Gazette, Jenkins said, "In West Virginia, I've been proud to champion common-sense health reforms that actually work, such as medical liability reform to keep doctors in-state, a Patient's Bill of Rights to give working families greater health care freedom, and expanded access to care for those with pre-existing conditions.