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Havenstein says he has always opposed Obamacare, though company he led was paid to implement parts of it

A company once led by Walt Havenstein received millions of dollars from the government to implement parts of the Affordable Care Act for the Internal Revenue Service, but the Republican gubernatorial candidate said it had nothing to do with his personal position on the law.

“I’ve always opposed Obamacare,” he said in a phone interview.

Havenstein was chief executive officer of Science Applications International Corp. when SAIC received $2.4 million in 2011 and $2.7 million in 2013 to implement some programming for the Internal Revenue Service. Jon Ward of the Huffington Post first reported about the federal payments.

Havenstein, speaking before campaigning alongside New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Nashua on Thursday, said the business and political beliefs of a chief executive of a large company “are not one and the same.”

Andrew Hemingway, Havenstein’s rival for the Republican nomination for governor, disagreed with his assessment.

Hemingway called his opponent out on Twitter: “If you were paid to implement Obamacare, can you claim to oppose it?”

SAIC is a $4 billion technology and engineering company with 13,000 employees around the world. Its headquarters is in McLean, Va., and it trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “SAIC.”

In the interview, Havenstein mentioned “Obamacare” as one of the concerns he hears from Granite Staters as he campaigns around the state.

Despite his criticism of the Affordable Care Act, he said the likelihood of a repeal is remote. He said he supports overhauling it, however, with what he called a “consumer-driven” fix.

Additional insurers will enter the marketplace in 2015, but the narrow network available for Obamacare enrollees in New Hampshire this year has caused some consumer angst and complaints about lack of access to hospitals and physicians of choice.

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