McMahon disappointed in health care ruling

As the U.S. Supreme Court was announcing its ruling that upholds the Affordable Health Care Act, Linda McMahon, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, sat down with The Herald’s sister paper, the Darien Times.

McMahon stopped by The Times’ weekly community coffee at the Sugar Bowl in June, after being briefed on the decision to talk about it and other issues, such as defense jobs, how she’ll get out the vote this year and what she thinks of Darien.

“It was disappointing,” McMahon said when asked about the court’s ruling on the health care act. “It was kind of a little bit of a bait and switch almost in that — I’m not talking about the Supreme Court I’m talking about from the government — that it will bring down the cost of health care. It will increase the cost of health care.

“It puts a burden on our middle class it puts a burden on our businesses and our seniors as well.”

She said would vote to repeal the act if elected in November.

“Because we do need health care reform. We have to make sure that those who can’t afford it, have it. But at the same time the way our state mandates and our government mandates work today the people have to buy insurance they don’t need. You know, you need to be able to buy the plan that suits you.

“You need to be able to buy it across state lines; you need to be able to take it with you if you go from job to job or you leave the state. All of those things I think would be very helpful in health care reform and we will bring the cost down if we have a market-based solution for competition. And we can do that in our country by having companies then bid for your insurance if you can choose the kind of insurance you want.

“But under this health care, Affordable Heath Care Act — which I believe is a bit of a misnomer — you are not going to be able to choose what you need. And there are going to be certain kind of requirements from the government of what kind of insurance you must carry is my understanding.”

One of the U.S. Senate committees McMahon would like to serve on is the Armed Services Committee. But she would not say if she would vote for the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission process, known as BRAC.

Earlier this summer, while visiting Electric Boat in Groton, she told The Day of New London that BRAC is a way to find efficiencies in defense spending and that she would support it depending on what cuts were proposed. Her Republican opponent in the August primary, former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, pointed out to the media that this showed McMahon didn’t know how the process worked. BRAC is established to figure out what would close and then presents it to Congress, which votes up or down on the whole proposal. Rarely does Congress get a chance to remove a suggestion from the commission’s proposal.

The next BRAC could come in 2015. Shays has vowed to oppose another commission.

While he was at General Dynamics’ Electric Boat shipyard last weekend, he said that the next BRAC would almost certainly target the linchpin of Connecticut’s defense industry, the U.S. Naval Submarine Base on the Thames River, according to CTMirror.org.

“Well, given that we have so much emphasis here in our state on defense budgets, I would very much like to serve on the Armed Forces Committee,” she said in response to a question about which U.S. Senate committees she would want to be on. “Also on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions because that is such a big part of what we’re looking at today. Finance Committee because I think that is in my wheelhouse as well.”

When asked if she has changed her opinion on BRAC that she shared recently, McMahon said her opinion is “how it sounds. We will fight to keep that base open tooth and nail. When pressed to answer if she would still want to see the BRAC process begin, she continued to say she would “fight to keep the base open and to keep those jobs at Electric Boat here in our state. There is nothing I wouldn’t do to prevent that from happening.”

After five times of being asked, yes or no, if she would vote to start BRAC, she declined to directly answer before asking if anyone else had questions for her.

But McMahon did talk extensively about how her campaign’s machine could help get her and other Republicans elected in November — despite the fact that just two years ago she got the second fewest votes of any statewide Republican on the ballot.

“It’s going to take a lot of hard work,” McMahon said when asked by a Darien resident how President Obama can be defeated in November. “Here in Connecticut he’s still popular. His favorable ratings are higher here. But I do believe what we’re seeing with Gov. Romney all across the country is he’s continuing to run neck-and-neck.”

McMahon then focused on how impressive her campaign’s ground game is going to be at getting out the vote.

“It’s going to be very important for us in the fall — and this cannot be reinforced enough — is to get our people to the polls to vote,” she said. “We can’t sit home. We can’t wait for other people to do it. If you know someone who can’t get there, offer them a ride. We are going to build a ground game here in Connecticut.”

McMahon said her campaign is going to have vans and buses all over the state to get voters to the polls on Election Day. “We’ll have a great grass-roots effort,” she said. “We’ve already made, from the offices we’ve set up in the state, over 50,000 individual telephone calls and knocked on over 30,000 doors.”

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