A new campaign ad by Sen. Bob Casey insinuates that his challenger, Rep. Lou Barletta, would stop kids with cancer from receiving medical care.
The ad shows Stacie Ritter, a mom of twin girls who were diagnosed with cancer when they were only 4 years old. She says, “If Lou Barletta has his way, kids like mine could be denied the care they need.”
It’s a cruel accusation, made even worse by the fact that Barletta’s toddler grandson Jackson is currently undergoing chemotherapy for a sarcoma discovered less than 2 months ago. Just like Stacie’s kids, Barletta’s grandson is a twin. Just like Stacie’s kids, Jackson has cancer.
What kind of campaign would insinuate that a man would deny medical care to his own seriously ill grandson, while that grandson is fighting for his life?
A campaign that doesn’t care about facts. Barletta has openly supported maintaining coverage for preexisting conditions (and voted in favor of an Obamacare replacement that would have mandated coverage for preexisting conditions).
Barletta responded with an emotional video calling on Sen. Casey to remove the ad. Barletta says, “I told him and his wife [of Jackson’s diagnosis] a month ago. They knew what we were going through. They knew the fact that he’s getting treatment right now.”
The Casey camp could deny that Barletta ever told them of Jackson’s diagnosis, but it’s a tough sell. Barletta has been open about his grandson’s diagnosis on the campaign trail. It’s hard to believe that no one on Casey’s team knew about the family’s fight against cancer.
Even if Barletta is lying, and Casey didn’t know about the diagnosis, the ad still goes too far. Stripping health care coverage from kids with cancer is a monstrous thing to do. That accusation is not one to be taken lightly.
Sen. Casey’s team initially defended the ad, saying it accurately portrays Barletta’s voting record. However, the ad is now unlisted on YouTube (but not pulled down from the site).
P.S. – I didn’t give either candidate’s party affiliation in the main story, because I didn’t want that to influence readers’ perceptions of the people involved. For the record, though, Sen. Casey is a Democrat and Rep. Barletta is a Republican.