Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) has a new pair of ads in the Nevada Senate race, firing back at the investigation that the House Ethics Committee recently launched against her. She is also aiming to turn the tables on Republican Sen. Dean Heller on the big issue of Medicare.
The investigation is probing whether Berkley crossed the lines in her work on Medicare issues, particularly her advocacy on behalf of a kidney transplant program at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where her husband has done extensive work, and also her efforts to prevent proposed cuts in the Medicare reimbursement rates for dialysis.
Republican groups have seized on the story to accuse Berkley in ads of steering money to her husband. Berkley’s campaign has pointed out that both Berkley and Heller have fought for the hospital program. In the new ads, Berkley targets Heller’s 2011 votes — in the House and the Senate — for the Paul Ryan plan to privatize Medicare itself.
The ads will be running statewide, the Berkley campaign told TPM.
“While Dean Heller continues to look out for his special interest friends on Wall Street by voting to essentially end Medicare by turning it over to private insurance company bureaucrats, Shelley Berkley is a champion for Nevada seniors and patients — working tirelessly to protect and strengthen Medicare and Social Security,” said Berkley communications director Xochitl Hinojosa.
One of the ads tackles the ethics inquiry head-on. “How about the truth, Dean Heller? The complaint against Shelley Berkley was filed by the Republican Party,” the announcer says in one ad. “Dean Heller’s actually attacking Berkley for trying to stop cuts to Medicare coverage for hundreds of thousands of patients nationwide. The Las Vegas Sun says Berkley’s ‘advocacy wasn’t driven for personal gain, it was aimed at helping Nevadans.’ And Dean Heller? Heller voted twice to end Medicare as we know it. You decide, who’s for you?”
Another focuses squarely on Medicare.
“April 15: Rep. Dean Heller votes for a plan to essentially end Medicare — increasing premiums over $6,000, and putting insurance company bureaucrats in charge of care. May 25: After being appointed to the Senate, Heller again votes for the plan. He even says he’s proud to be the only person to vote twice to end Medicare. Dean Heller, that’s nothing to be proud of.”