Havenstein Again Called Out for "Political Double Speak," Failing to Give Clear Position on Governor Hassan’s Bipartisan Health Care Expansion Plan
Manchester, NH – In WGIR’s GOP gubernatorial debate, failed CEO Walt Havenstein continued to get hammered for his lack of integrity when it comes to health care for working families. Though WGIR’s debate moderators pushed Havenstein to finally level with Granite Staters and give a clear position on Governor Hassan’s bipartisan health care expansion plan, Havenstein offered only tortured dodges.
As Andrew Hemingway commented, Havenstein is engaging in "political double speak, there’s no other way to put it."
“There is absolutely no question that failed CEO Walt Havenstein is being disingenuous with the people of New Hampshire by refusing to give a clear position on whether he’d take away health coverage from 50,000 Granite Staters,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Deputy Communications Director Bryan Lesswing. “Havenstein still has a lot of explaining to do and voters will demand answers for how he could sign a Koch Brothers pledge to repeal coverage from hard-working Granite Staters after his company made millions off the ACA while he was CEO.”
Havenstein has come under increasing fire for his lack of integrity on health care, as he pledged to the Koch Brothers that he’d take away health coverage from 50,000 Granite Staters despite revelations that as CEO, his company took nearly $100 million in contracts to implement the health law as CEO of SAIC.
Click here for audio of Havenstein’s tortured dodges in this morning’s WGIR debate and see below for a full transcription of the exchange:
Moderator: One of the Governor’s accomplishments that she heralds quite a bit is the Medicaid Expansion program. And let’s just clear up where you are on this because there’s been a lot of buzz out there that, you know, I’m not making the allegation, but others have, that you’ve changed position, or you’ve flipped flopped from one week to another. Andrew pointed out that you had taken the Americans for Prosperity pledge, which includes opposing all forms of Obamacare, including Medicaid Expansion, then points out that on a television interview last week you said that it had to be fixed or modified, and then there was a video of you saying that you would veto it. So, I’m assuming that is going to, you know, prompt some discussion betwee you two. Where are you on this exactly, are you going to veto this, or are you going to change it?
Walt Havenstein: John, I have always been opposed to Obamacare and Medicaid Expansion. Long before they became law I was opposed to it, and I remain opposed to it. We do have a law, and we do have a situation where we have got to fix the situation going forward. We can talk about repeal, we can talk about whether I would have vetoed that bill. I would have, had I been in the Governor's office had it come to me. And if they were to extend it or opt to extend it, I would veto that. But the fact is, we’re going to be going into this, serving as Governor, with a situation where many, many more people in New Hampshire have been given this entitlement. We cannot assume that that problem is just going to go away. We’ve got a Governor today who is unwilling to face into problems. I am going to face into that problem early on and find a solution that is a responsible solution that doesn’t put New Hampshire taxpayers on the hook for an unlimited liability; that’s what we have.
Moderator: If I may, the Republicans who were supporting this, Senate President Morris, who supports you, felt that this was the best they could do under the circumstances in terms of a compromise. How do you want to modify it, and did you disagree with their action on this?
Walt Havenstein: I did disagree with their action. But at the same time, I recognize that they were literally between a rock and a hard place and I think that what they came up with is a solution that limited the exposure to New Hampshire taxpayers, but that cannot be the solution for the future.
Moderator: Because of the follow up, Andrew Hemingway, you get two minutes on this subject and then we’ll go back to Mr. Havenstein.
Andrew Hemingway: Thank you. Ladies and gentleman what you’re hearing right now is political double speak, there’s no other way to put it. When you’re on camera and you’re asked about Medicaid expansion, you said, “we have to fix it.” You said, “this program means a lot to people who started off in the program who are going to not have that benefit, we can’t have that.” That is a direct quote from the interview. And really, Walt, as I’ve been traveling around the state of New Hampshire we have been hearing the same thing over and over and over again. And that is that in front of one audience there’s an answer, in front of a different audience, there’s a different answer. We’re seeing this almost on a daily basis. And really what we’re asking for is a clear answer. Here is my clear answer and here is the clear distinction between my candidacy and the candidacy of Walt Havenstein, and that is that I have delivered from day one clear answers, real solutions. And my answer on Medicaid expansion is the program must be repealed. It has to be repealed. I fought the passing of it. I was in committee hearings in Concord trying to fight the passage of Medicaid expansion. Today we see our budget blown to pieces over $100 million over budget already in the first five months, New Hampshire’s budget is. And now we expect it to be close to $200 million. Where is that $200 million going to come from? These are old eligibles. We are responsible for those. The state of New Hampshire will have those on the books for a long time to come. And to say in one breath we must keep this program, and in the next breath we must figure out some way to sunset this program, this is political double speak. The program must be repealed. As Governor, in the state of New Hampshire we will repeal this program because it’s the only thing that we can do in a responsible way to save New Hampshire from bankruptcy.
Walt Havenstein: I do. I have been crystal clear ever since I started talking about this, about my oppoisition to Obamacare and Medicaid expansion. But I faced the reality that we have a bill, we have a law. And we can talk about repealing the law, I think that is unlikely given the support that that bill had in being placed. So we must deal with that law. And to simply say we’re going to repeal it, not recognizing the fact that it’s probably not going to be repealed is irresponsible in my mind.