Donald Bolduc, Stratham Republican and retired Army brigadier general running for his party's nomination for U.S. Senate, sees some redeeming qualities to the Affordable Care Act – coverage of preexisting conditions, for instance. But he has also called it a bureaucratic mess.
(The full Exchange interview with Gen, Bolduc can be found here; the quotes in this story have been edited slightly for clarity.)
“I think in large part, the problem is the government controls too much of it and we need to get the government out of it, deregulate it, privatize it, make it more competitive. So we drive prices down.”
Yet even as he supports deregulation, Bolduc says he sees a role for regulation when it comes to controlling the price of prescription drugs.
“I just talked to a woman the other day whose insulin's cost is prohibitive. It doesn't make any sense. Other countries pay $8 to $10 dollars for insulin and we end up paying $800 for insulin. That is just wrong.”
I think if we if we stop allowing pharmaceuticals to control our political system at the benefit of politicians in Washington, D.C., that's going to go a long way. A lot of them are benefiting from the special interests and lobbyists of big pharmaceutical companies. And so I think we do need reform in order to be able to drive these costs down.”
On veterans' issues, Bolduc says bureaucracy and ineffective leaders are at times obstructing care. “The V.A. isn't delivering the level of primary care to our veterans that it should. And they're not dealing with the root causes of suicide, with 60,000 suicides between 2008 and 2018. We're not getting there. And we need privatize this.”
When it comes to the national conversation on race and criminal justice, Bolduc considers the current debate to be divisive, and he sees education as a way to combat racism rather than through laws or legislation.
“The big thing is about understanding. I don't care if you're a Republican, Independent, Democrat, Libertarian, whatever you are. I don't care if you're black, white, Asian. It doesn't matter. We are in this together.“
Buldoc said he prefers the terms Everyone's lives Matter to Black Lives Matter, suggesting the latter leads to divisiveness. That's a distinction many in the Black Lives Matter movement object to, suggesting it overlooks the suffering in Black communities and efforts to raise awareness about the legacy of racism in this country that has resulted in long-standing and widespread inequities.
When it comes to removing Confederate monuments, an effort to confront symbols of racism and slavery taking hold in many parts of the country, Buldoc suggests it is past time to move on.
“One of the things that our reconstruction did, although it was not perfect, it allowed our country to heal. And we recognized heroes on both sides in order to move forward,” he said.
“If we dwelled on the fact that some fought for the Confederacy and some fought for that for the Union, and we didn't get past that, our military wouldn't be as strong as it is today. We wouldn't have the United States military academy; we wouldn't have the Naval Academy; we wouldn't have the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Maritime Academy, the Coast Guard Academy. So we've got to get past these things and move forward.”
Also, read recent NHPR coverage of Bolduc's support for Jerry DeLemus, a Rochester man serving a seven-year term for his role in a 2014 armed standoff in Nevada. Earlier this week, Bolduc joined a group of supporters calling for President Trump to commute his sentence.