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AFP ads on Shea-Porter, Kuster, Obamacare feature GOP activists

Senior Political Reporter

February 25. 2014 4:42PM

MANCHESTER -- Two New Hampshire women featured in a major television advertising buy critical of Democratic Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster's support for the Affordable Care Act are state Republican activists.

But the state Republicans Party and AFP say it makes no difference. They say that Helen DePrima of Bedford and Donna Marzullo of Deering lost their health insurance under Obamacare, and their stories are real.

AFP is spending $575,000 on the ads, in which the women, one in each congressional district, say they lost their health insurance as a result of Obamacare.

Marzullo is the wife of Republican State Committee vice chairman J.P. Marzullo and vice chair of the Contoocook Valley Republican Committee. DePrima is a long-time GOP activist who has been active on many campaigns.

Political ads on both sides have often used activists and/or supporters as constituents and voters in support or opposition of candidates or causes.

The Democratic Party said Republicans "are obsessed with re-fighting the health care battles of the past, repealing the Affordable Care Act and putting insurance companies back in charge so they have free reign to raise costs, deny care, and drop coverage.

The Democrats said GOP congressional candidates "Frank Guinta, Gary Lambert, Dan Innis, and Marilinda Garcia all want to return New Hampshire to the days when insurance companies could deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, limit lifetime benefits forcing people to face cancer and bankruptcy at the same time, and kids could be kicked off their parent's plans the day they turned 18."

The advocacy group Granite State Progress questioned whether the ACA was the cause of the loss of health insurance by the two women and said it omitted addressing other details that could have resulted in lower costs overall.

"AFP-NH wants to return to a broken system of insurance company abuses and low quality, high cost health coverage," said GSP executive director Zandra Rice Hawkins.

"We're speaking to people like the women in this ad to explain the changes and educate them about the new consumer protections, such as how insurance companies can no longer drop you from coverage when you get sick."

"Their political leaning does not detract from the fact that they lost their health insurance," said AFP-New Hampshire state director Gregory Moore.

"Unless anyone can find that these two constituents did not lose their health insurance, I don't see what the issue is," he said.

State Republican Party Chair Jennifer Horn said, "The women in these ads are real people with real stories, and it is disgraceful that Representative Kuster and Shea-Porter's allies would try to attack them."

The ads are airing on statewide broadcast and cable television stations and follow AFP's expenditure of $1.1 million last month on advertising focusing on Kuster and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

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