The hits keep coming in Massachusetts.
After facing her own controversy for questions about her Native-American heritage, Elizabeth Warren, the likely Democratic nominee in the Massachusetts Senate race, has accused Sen. Scott Brown of being a hypocrite after he told the Boston Globe that he still insures his 23-year-old daughter, Ayla, on his health care plan.
Brown is the Republican senator whose election in January, 2010, broke the Democrats filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, forcing them to re-organize their plan for passing health care legislation. During his tenure in Congress, he has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act three times, a provision of which allows children to stay on their health care until they turn 26.
“Brown’s still promising to repeal the very reforms that allow him and the parents of 2.5 million other young adults to keep their kids covered,” Warren spokeswoman Alethea Harney said in a statement. “It’s not right. Scott Brown spells health care: H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y.”
But Massachusetts’ state health care law, which served as a model in many ways for the Affordable Care Act, has the same provision, and Brown has long expressed his support for that law, supporting it when he was in the state legislature.
“I’ve said right from the beginning, that if there are things that we like, we should take advantage of them and bring them back here to Massachusetts,” Brown said Monday.
While the Massachusetts health care law only applies to residents of the commonwealth, Brown has expressed his support for this particular provision of the Affordable Care Act, noting in an interview with the Lowell Sun in 2010 that he would like to keep two parts of the Affordable Care Act: the provision allowing children to stay on their parents insurance until 26, along with the catastrophic-coverage provision.
Still, the situation might prove problematic for Brown.
“There’s no way that he can escape the all-too-evident hypocrisy of placing his daughter under his own insurance, insurance that is provided to him as a member of Congress by the U.S. Government,” said Jeffrey Berry, professor of political science at Tufts University in Medford-Somerville.
The timing is also unfortunate for Brown, who had started out the week in a good situation as a result of the negative coverage Warren had been receiving in light of the questions surrounding her Native-American ancestry.
Warren, 62, came under fire after the Boston Herald reported that Harvard University, where Warren is a law professor, had promoted her as a minority member of their faculty. Warren had listed herself as Native American, and that identification is facing scrutiny after genealogists traced her Native-American ancestry back to her great-great-great-grandmother – who was Cherokee – making Warren 1/32nd Native American.
“I think it comes at a particularly unfortunate time for him because Elizabeth Warren is having a rough week because of the revelations concerning her Native-American heritage and the press has been awful, and this has given her an opportunity to volley back,” Berry said.
As Berry noted, Warren and Brown, 52, signed a pledge to keep outside spending groups away from their race. The pledge is being honored by both candidates, but as a result they are forced to fling attacks directly at one another, portending a nasty race ahead.
“It’s inevitable in a Senate race that when one candidate is disadvantaged, they’re going to have to respond,” Berry said. “There was no question that this race was going to become more negative and we’re simply seeing it in May and rather than maybe September.”