Nat'l Republicans blasting Charlie Crist's vote against CHIP re-authorization - Florida Politics

Nat’l Republicans blasting Charlie Crist’s vote against CHIP re-authorization

Earlier this month, the U.S. House voted to reauthorize federal funding to maintain the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides coverage to 8.9 million children and 370,000 pregnant women.

In a new digital ad, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is blasting St. Petersburg Democrat Charlie Crist for voting against the measure.

The Healthy Kids Act extends CHIP’s federal funding for five years and funding for federally qualified health centers for two years. Federal funding for those facilities lapsed on Sept. 30, the same day CHIP lost its funding.

While most House Republicans voted for the measure, most Democrats were opposed. That’s because they said the bill charged higher Medicare premiums to seniors earning more than $500,000, shortened the grace period for people who don’t pay their Affordable Care Act marketplace premiums from 90 days to 30 days, and also redirected money from the ACA’s prevention and public health fund to community health centers.

Try telling that to the voters, charges the NRCC.

“Self-serving, flip-flopping, politician Charlie Crist voted ‘no’ to providing health care for kids, and ‘yes’ to protecting the wealthiest one-percent,” said the NRCC’s Maddie Anderson. “Unfortunately — unlike the rest of his political career — he can’t flip-flop on this vote. Simply put — Charlie Crist does not belong in Congress.”
Erin Moffett, a spokesperson for Crist, said, in fact, the congressman “strongly supports” the CHIP program and community health centers, but voted against it because of the higher Medicare premiums.
“He stood with AARP, the Alliance for Retired Americans, and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare in opposition to H.R. 3922 because it cuts Medicare — a program he’s sworn to protect. He looks forward to passage of a clean children’s health bill and robust community health funding once House Republicans stop the partisan games and act responsibly,” Moffett said Monday night.
A similar digital ad is airing in 12 other markets of the country against other congressional Democrats.
Last week, Inside Elections moved Crist’s Florida’s 13th District to “Likely Democratic.”

“This rating change is further proof that Republicans have little credible chance to challenge Congressman Crist and his reelection prospects look better by the day,” said Cole Leiter, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Frankly, it’s no surprise that there isn’t a single Republican who has stepped up to challenge Congressman Crist. He serves his constituents well and Republicans know their party’s agenda of hiking middle class taxes and health care costs is too toxic to take on someone with Charlie Crist’s reputation as a fighter for middle class families.”

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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