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Collins slams McMurray for embracing single-payer health care

Rep. Chris Collins’ re-election “air war” is intensifying with a new television ad strafing Democratic challenger Nathan McMurray for embracing a single-payer health care system.

The 30-second spot was slated to debut Tuesday in Buffalo and Rochester as Collins, under federal indictment for insider trading, steps up the campaign he originally suspended in August. After resurrecting the effort in September at the urging of his defense attorneys and to keep his 27th Congressional District seat in Republican hands, he now continues to hammer away at McMurray for views he claims are out of sync with local voters.

The ad begins with a Facebook video of McMurray pronouncing, “I am for single-payer health care,” and saying it is cheaper than the current system. It then flashes to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who has endorsed such a system, while also highlighting various press accounts about its costs, including one that says taxes would double for all.

“Nate’s push for European-style health care shows how radically out of touch he is with the 27th District,” said campaign spokeswoman Natalie Baldassarre. “His plan raises spending by $32.6 trillion, doubles taxes for every American, and jeopardizes care for our seniors while severely raising their taxes. Voters should take Nate McMurray at his word – at least until he deletes this video.”

While the campaign cites several sources as the basis for its claim of multitrillions in single-payer costs, other studies take a different approach. A July story on Vox.com citing the libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center at George Mason University acknowledges the increases for the federal government, but the country as a whole would spend about the same.

In an emailed response, McMurray said everyone knows U.S. health care isn't working.

"We spend more than any other country and get lower quality care and instead of fixing the problem, or even acknowledging the problem, Mr. Collins is hiding behind attack ads and votes that further destabilize our healthcare system with no plan to make it better," he said. "He wants to destroy Medicare, drain Social Security and repeatedly votes to deny coverage to his constituents that need it. What kind of representation is that?"

McMurray said he's committed to reform, and "if that means insurance companies and drug companies make smaller profits, so be it." And he again challenged Collins to debate "these issues in front of voters."

Most observers expect the congressman to continue focusing on his opponent as too “liberal” for the 27th District, which stretches over eight counties and represents the most Republican district in all of New York. Those close to his campaign say voters are familiar with Collins, his policies and his legal problems, so he will emphasize “defining” McMurray.

While Collins has appeared at some recent events in the district, he is not announcing them to reporters beforehand and is mostly attending friendly GOP events. But he has a $1.3 million campaign fund at his disposal, which he is expected to liberally spend on television advertising.

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