Is an Obamacare-Bashing Congressional Candidate Actually Receiving Obamacare?
A Tea Party-backed Republican Congressional candidate that seeks to repeal Obamacare won’t reveal if she currently receives health coverage mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
Marilinda Garcia, a state representative in New Hampshire who is backed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, refused to disclose to a regional public radio station last week if she was receiving health care through the exchange.
Garcia waged a strong attack on Obamacare in an interview with New Hampshire Public Radio the day after her three-way primary win.
“It’s Obamacare and the effects it’s having in all aspects of our economy and access to care, and the way it was sold on false premises," Garcia said. "And yes that directly comes from the top. It’s the president and the administration and those that support him unwaveringly.”
However, when the public radio interviewer asked Garcia how she received her coverage, she stammered and declined to say whether she received coverage through New Hampshire’s exchange, mandated by the ACA.
“I… that’s my own issue,” said Garcia. “I don’t need to share everything.”
Garcia was asked again by the NHPR interviewer, who reminded her that this won’t be the last time she’s asked.
“Probably that’s something the media will want to know, with you making health care an issue in your campaign,” said the reporter. “Is it fair to say that you’re not getting your health care Obamacare...through the exchange?”
“I don’t need to talk about that. Thank you,” Garcia declined again.
Garcia’s campaign was initially quick to claim that she did not get health care through the ACA after the interview. Garcia is a member of the New Hampshire house, a part-time position, and has various jobs teaching music. It’s not clear whether she has health-care coverage through any of her employers. However, on Friday, it seemed that the campaign might be easing back on this claim. It would only confirm that she is covered by health insurance, but would not provide more information than that.
It’s not uncommon for candidates to disclose how they’re receiving their health insurance, especially in the current political climate where Obamacare is a mid-term election issue. According to NHPR, all the other candidates they’ve contacted had no issues with disclosing how they received health care. Garcia’s opponent in New Hampshire’s second district, Rep. Annie Kuster has revealed that she gets her health insurance through an exchange mandated by the ACA, a requirement for all members of Congress who are not insured through other sources, such as a spouse’s policy.
Obamacare, while heavily debated everywhere during this election cycle, is a uniquely contentious issue in New Hampshire. Currently, only one health insurance carrier, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, provides healthcare to the state’s residents through the exchange, but in 2015, four more carriers will offer insurance.
While all 26 of New Hampshire’s hospitals will accept coverage from each of the carriers next year, residents were upset that Anthem only contracted with 16 hospitals. Network issues also plagued the state’s exchange in 2013.