Eric Hovde would repeal Obamacare but says little about how he'd replace it - TAI News
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Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, left, introduces Eric Hovde, who is running for U.S. Senate, at a campaign event, June 18, 2024, in Racine, Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde has been calling for repeal of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, since his failed 2012 campaign for the Senate seat. But while he has spent much of his current race talking about the need for systemic reform, he has offered virtually no specifics about how he would make health care more affordable or accessible.

Hovde, the millionaire real estate developer and CEO of a Utah-based bank, is the Wisconsin Republican Party’s endorsed candidate in the Aug. 13 primary election. The winner will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin in November.

In a 2012 campaign video, Hovde said, “We need to repeal and replace Obamacare in its entirety and move in a 180-degree different direction, where people take on their own personal responsibility and use a free-market approach to solving our health care crisis.” He endorsed a plan to eliminate Medicare and instead offer some financial aid to help those who could not afford private health insurance policies buy coverage or pay for health care and products.

In a debate that August, he indicated that he did not support popular provisions of the law that protect individuals with preexisting medical conditions and allow people to remain on family insurance plans until age 26. 

Twelve years later, the law has guaranteed that hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites with preexisting conditions do not face discrimination by insurance companies, reduced overall consumer and government spending on health care by trillions of dollars, and enabled more than 200,000 people in Wisconsin to get affordable coverage through the health insurance marketplace. 

Still, Hovde is railing against Obamacare. A page on his campaign website falsely claims the law has made the health care system worse, blaming it for rising costs, a drop in the quality of care, and higher prescription drug prices. Though his page is called “Fixing Our Broken Healthcare System,” he offers no actual proposals to do so, saying only, “It’s time to reform our healthcare so that it works for all Americans.”

On June 25, Hovde posted a video on social media in which he said he had not been able to get in to see his personal doctor a few years prior when he had a medical issue. He blamed this too on Obamacare: “The access to care has collapsed. Think of it: Family doctors have all but gone away now, and it’s happened in a very short period of time. We’ve allowed these giant monopolies to be created, and the administrative costs have just only escalated. So if I get to be your next U.S. senator, one of the things I’m going to do is focus on fixing our health care system.” The video includes no policy proposals.

A Hovde campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story. Surveys have shown that the declining number of available doctors stems from a variety of factors, including physician burnout, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the retirement of baby boomers.

Baldwin helped pass the Obamacare law in 2010 and backs legislation to further improve the health care system, including proposals to increase access to mental health and substance abuse treatment for pregnant women and new mothers, to expand access to in vitro fertilization and contraception, and to give Americans between ages 50 and 64 the option of buying Medicare insurance policies. In 2022, she voted for the Inflation Reduction Act, which capped out-of-pocket insulin and prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries and allowed the program to negotiate lower drug costs with pharmaceutical companies.

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