Carmona, a doctor and former U.S. Surgeon General under Republican President George W. Bush, was an independent for 22 years before registering with the Democratic Party in November 2011 to run for U.S. Senate.
He says he saw as Surgeon General how politics can get in the way of good health care.
“Republicans and Democrats both got it wrong,” Carmona says in the ad. “We’ve got to make health care affordable for small business and working families through innovation and preventative care, while also cutting waste and fraud.”
Carmona’s opponent, Republican Jeff Flake, isn’t buying Carmona’s stance on health care reform. Flake has continually said Carmona supports Obama’s health care reform of 2010, known as “Obamacare.”
“Apparently he thinks that Arizonans have a short memory,” Flake’s campaign said in a press release. “It was just earlier this year when Richard Carmona announced his support for Obamacare, even going so far as to say that President Obama was ‘brave’ for passing it.”
On Facebook, Carmona elaborated on his stance on health care.
“We need to make health care more affordable by focusing on prevention in order to lower the number of Americans suffering from chronic disease. We need to be more innovative in how we deliver treatment and control costs. And we need to be more diligent in cutting waste and fraud,” Carmona wrote. “None of these changes are rocket science, but they will dramatically improve our quality of care and lower the cost. All we need is leaders who will work together to get it done.”
It’s not the first time Carmona has said both parties got it wrong. After the Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s health care reform in late June, Carmona sent out a statement saying the same thing.
“Both Democrats and Republicans got it wrong,” he said. “The fact is, we don’t have a health care system, we have a sick care system. More than 75 percent of the $2.8 trillion we now spend in health care costs annually go towards treating chronic diseases, much of which are preventable. The Affordable Care Act does contain laudable first steps that help address health disparities and the access inequities of the current system, but it also has major flaws."
The general election is Nov. 6. Early ballots go out on Oct. 11. A new poll from a Democrat-leaning organization showed Flake with a 1-percentage point lead on Carmona.
A poll done by Rasmussen in late June, however, showed Flake with a 16-percentage point lead on Carmona among 500 likely Arizona voters. Rasmussen is considered a more Republican-leaning organization.
Dennis DeConcini was the last Democrat to win a U.S. Senate race in Arizona, and the state leans more Republican now. The 3.1 million registered voters are divided into thirds: Republicans lead with 36 percent of voters, followed by 33 percent independent voters and 30 percent Democrats.
Stay tuned to the Pueblo Politics blog throughout 2012 for news, updates and information about Arizona politics. You can follow Arizona Daily Star reporters Brady McCombs, Becky Pallack and Tim Steller on Twitter.