In 2016, the Affordable Care Act came up in just 10 percent of pro-Democrat campaign advertisements and 16 percent of pro-Republican ones. This year, it came up in more than half of Democratic ads and nearly a third of those for Republicans.
The two parties obviously had different messages on health-care policy, but they overlapped in terms of the public concerns addressed:
For Democrats, the pitch to … voters is straightforward: We are the party that will shore up the Affordable Care Act, maintain protections for preexisting conditions, and work to make coverage universal and affordable. For the first time in years, the party is defending a popular law rather than an unpopular one — and is doing so vocally, playing on voters’ very real fears that Republicans will take away their coverage …
For Republicans, the law’s sudden popularity — and their continual efforts to reduce coverage and increase costs — have made their campaign pitch a little harder. With no real health plan to run on, many have alighted on the bizarre argument that they would protect individuals with preexisting conditions.