|By J.D. Prose, Beaver County Times, Pa.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"It's sent to clearly attack me -- to try to send a message that anybody who's going to oppose their effort to deny certain people insurance, they're going to go after them," said Christiana, R-15,
UPMC's mailer apparently landed in mailboxes Friday and Saturday across Christiana's district, although he said voters in the districts of state Rep.
Over a photo of a smiling Christiana, the mailer references the Affordable Care Act by saying, "If you don't like what's going on in
On the other side, it claims Christiana's bill, House Bill 1621, would reduce competition and "take away choices for consumers." It also exhorts voters to call Christiana's
The bill, co-sponsored by state Rep.
The Allegheny Health Network, which was formed after Highmark purchased
UPMC, however, is fighting the bill with a spokesman Monday calling it "a massive government intrusion" that is "designed solely to protect Highmark."
Wood said the bill is anti-competitive, regressive and would "extinguish the insurance competition that's beginning to develop here in western
As for the mailer, Wood said there was nothing wrong with informing Christiana's constituents about his political dealings. "It's a very appropriate course of action to communicate directly to his constituents," Wood said.
Wood said UPMC has not sent a mailer to Frankel's constituents.
After hosting a news conference with Frankel in
Christiana said the mailer and robo-calls being made across the state are meant as "scare tactics" to keep other legislators from backing the bill. "This year, (UPMC) is saying, 'Retaliation will be in order,'" Christiana said.
Christiana said he wants Republican leaders to denounce UPMC's attack, which comes before a House health committee hearing on the bill next week.
"It's a lack of taste. It's out of line," Christiana said. "Truly public entities shouldn't be spending resources on campaign mailers."
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