New Hampshire state Rep. Marilinda Garcia, the Ted Cruz-backed tea party-aligned New Hampshire congressional candidate, loves to bash Obamacare. But in a recent interview, when focus fell onto her own coverage, Garcia had less to say.
In an interview with New Hampshire Public Radio, Garcia first went into her usual attack on Obamacare, saying she would work to get rid of it if elected. But then Garcia was asked about her own healthcare coverage. She refused to say if she had purchased health care through the exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act. Here’s what she said when NHPR asked about her own coverage:
Garcia: “I… that’s my own issue.”
NHPR: “So you don’t want to say?”
Garcia: “No that’s fine, I don’t need to share everything.”
NHPR: “I bet it will come up again. Probably that’s something the media will want to know, with you making health care an issue in your campaign.”
Garcia: “My constituents talk to me so I am not here running on my own issues. I am expressing what they come up with.”
NHPR: “Is it fair to say you are not getting your health care through Obamacare, through the (federal) exchange?”
Garcia: “I don’t need to talk about that. Thank you.”
Garcia’s campaign later told NHPR that she is not enrolled in an insurance plan offered by the Obamacare exchanges. NHPR noted that the other Republican and Democratic candidates for federal office in the state have provided information of the kind of health coverage they receive.
On Saturday, the New Hampshire Union-Leader reported that Garcia’s campaign said she purchases a month-to-month healthcare plan that’s outside of Obamacare.
“Marilinda, as a free citizen, exercised her right to choose a health plan according to specifications that best suit her individual needs, and therefore did not enroll in the government’s choice for her. She supports that same choice for all citizens,” campaign manager Tom Szold told the newspaper.
Garcia herself told the Union-Leader that she didn’t share her plan because she felt it’s a private matter and “there’s no need to get into it even more.” Garcia’s plan, she said, covers catastrophic care short-term while running for office. But if Garcia did win the general election she’d be eligible for healthhcare coverage through Congress, which is purchased through the D.C. Obamacare exchange.
On Monday Garcia’s campaign told TPM that if she did win her race she’d be “open to accessing the health care plan provided to her as a member of Congress.” A Garcia campaign spokesman said he believed she is doing a “private non-compliant plan.”
“Her thing is ‘I don’t believe the government recognizes her plan but that doesn’t mean it’s not a legitimate health care plan,'” the Garcia campaign told TPM. “It’s worth noting that if she were to win [her race] she would be eligible for a congressional health care plan.”
Garcia won the Republican nomination to face Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH) in the general election.
This post has been updated.