[Update near bottom in italics]
The Republican candidates gunning for federal office in New Hampshire are all trying to put the Democratic incumbents on defense over the Affordable Care Act, whose New Hampshire rollout has been rocky.
But one of the most avid critics, Second District GOP nominee, Marilinda Garcia, is declining to say how she gets coverage.
In an interview at her Concord headquarters with NHPR the day after her convincing primary win, Marilinda Garcia re-stated her basic campaign theme: Incumbent Democrat Anne Kuster should be defeated, because she votes in lockstep with President Obama.
And she continued her sharp critique of the Affordable Care Act, saying she wants to dismantle it.
“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," she said. "And yes that directly comes from the top. It’s the president and the administration and those that support him unwaveringly.”
But when asked about her own health care coverage, Garcia demurred.
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.”
After that initial interview, Garcia’s campaign said she is not enrolled for coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
Considered a rising star by national Republicans, Garcia is a member of the New Hampshire House, and a professional harpist who’s taught music at area schools. But her campaign declined to say whether she is covered through any of those posts, or provide any further details. [On Friday, Garcia's campaign did confirm that she is, in fact, covered by health insurance, but said she did not want to provide more information than that.]
All of the other Republican and Democratic candidates for New Hampshire federal office did provide information on their health coverage, which ranged from participation in the health care exchange, to coverage through a spouse’s employer, to military benefits.
Congresswoman Kuster’s campaign says she is covered through the health care exchange. That’s actually required of all members of Congress, with exceptions for spousal benefits or enrollment in other federal programs. First District Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, a Democrat, is covered through her husband’s family plan. Her Republican opponent, Frank Guinta, is covered through his wife’s family insurance.
On the Senate side, incumbent Jeanne Shaheen is covered by Medicare, while Republican challenger Scott Brown, a retired National Guardsman, is insured through the military Tricare program.