HOUSTON - During a time of a deadly pandemic, the already critical priority of access to health care has expanded exponentially in the minds of vulnerable voters.
In the contest to represent the folks of Texas-7 in Congress, incumbent Democrat Lizzie Fletcher has deployed an attack ad warning constituents that if elected, Republican Wesley Hunt would strip away current protections.
"He would let insurance companies deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. We could lose our coverage," say folks identified as constituents in the Fletcher ad.
But in his advertising, Hunt claims the exact opposite.
"As new parents, Emily and I know how important affordable health care is. In Congress I'll work with Democrats and Republicans to protect families with pre-existing conditions," says Hunt.
Clearly, they both can't be right.
"He wants to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act is the only law on the books that protects coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. It's as simple as that," said Fletcher in an interview with Fox 26.
"No, she is not telling the truth. I absolutely want to protect those with pre-existing conditions," counters Hunt.
Hunt insists opposition to the Affordable Care Act and an independent guarantee of coverage for those with pre-existing conditions are in no way mutually exclusive.
"I can assure that a stand-alone bill that didn't have any pork or fat associated with it that would have mandated that insurance companies have got to protect our American citizens with pre-existing conditions would have passed the House, the Senate and the President would have signed it, but now they are trying to play political football," said Hunt.
Fletcher calls that a myth Republicans have been peddling to the public.
"There is no Republican bill, there is no Republican alternative that protects people with pre-existing conditions. The President has promised one for years you remember 'repeal and replace" we heard. We haven't seen the replacement. It doesn't exist," said Fletcher.
That's not entirely true.
In 2019 Senator Tom Tillis of North Carolina filed The Protect Act which seeks to offer protection for Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Many experts say the stand-alone measure falls well short of the more ironclad guarantee of coverage under Obamacare and Democrats have thus far have refused to support the Protect Act or a similar House Bill the "Pre-existing Conditions Protection Act of 2019" by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Oregon).