In a new emotional appeal to Iowa caucus voters, former Vice President Joe Biden is putting the fight for access to adequate health care at the top of his to do list, telling supporters that safeguarding the Obama-era Affordable Care Act "is personal to me."
The minute-long spot dubbed "personal" opens with images of Biden being sworn into the U.S. Senate next to the hospital bed of his young sons back in 1972 after the car crash that killed their mother and baby sister. Then, Biden goes on to talk about his son Beau Biden's terminal cancer diagnosis. The younger Biden ended up losing his life to brain cancer in 2015, at the age of 46. Before he died, he asked his father to promise to stay in politics, Biden later said.
"The fact of the matter is health care is personal to me. Obamacare is personal to me. When I see the president try to tear it down — and others propose to replace it and start over — that's personal to me too," Biden says in the ad.
Biden has vowed to build upon the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — one of the central pillars to the Obama administration. He is proposing the addition of a "public option" to the health care law to allow Americans to buy into a Medicare-like system that resembles what is available to those who are at least 65 years old. The fate of the law, however, faces legal jeopardy as the Trump administration wages a legal battle to dismantle it in the courts.
"We are reaching Iowans on the airwaves and online to create a surround-sound message about protecting and expanding their access to health care," said Greg Schultz, campaign manager.
This message of the ad mirrors Biden's criticism on the trail about his Democratic rivals' desire to scrap the law and start over with a single-payer "Medicare for All" policy, something Biden has slammed as "unrealistic."
It is the second ad for Biden in Iowa as part of a "high six-figure" ad buy according to the Biden campaign. The campaign intends to roll out complimentary digital ads in the state each showcasing key parts of Biden's plan to protect and build on the health care law. According to media intelligence firm Advertising Analytics, the Biden campaign has booked about $339,000 in ad time on broadcast and cable in Iowa over the next two weeks.
Bo Erickson and Adam Brewster contributed reporting.