MANCHESTER — Frank Guinta says U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, the Democrat who defeated him for the 1st District seat two years ago, does not deserve another term based in part on her support for Obamacare.
And Guinta, who faces a primary challenge from Dan Innis and Brendan Kelly, says he is the electable Republican in the race.
Along with the economy, Guinta said residents and businesspeople he meets on the campaign trail express the most concern about the Affordable Care Act. He said promises of greater health care access and affordability — made by President Obama and Shea-Porter — ring hollow.
The health care law is a step toward a single-payer system, he said. “It’s a top-down mandated approach, which I disagree with,” he said in an interview.
Guinta supports repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with a market-based approach which, he says, will deliver more accountability and options for affordability.
“If you repeal and replace, you replace it with a market-based solution; you have to allow the individual to make their own decisions,” he said.
New Hampshire’s narrow network, with Anthem as the single insurance provider in 2014, led to thousands of people losing insurance, losing access and facing higher premiums, Guinta said. The Anthem network also excluded 10 of the state’s 26 hospitals.
The marketplace exchange — New Hampshire uses the federal exchange, rather than a state-run exchange — will see additional insurance options in 2015. Still, Guinta says, those exchanges will be “geographic-based” and it remains to be seen how Granite Staters will receive better care or greater access.
Guinta said the U.S. must protect Americans and American interests, at home and abroad. While Americans may be “leery and weary of war,” national security threats must be addressed, he said. “The reality, I think, is there is a new, immediate threat in ISIS,” he said of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. “It has to be dealt with. I would like to see other nations react as strongly as we are.”
He supports targeted strikes against ISIS.
A video released last week by ISIS showed the beheading of New Hampshire-based freelance journalist James Foley.
Guinta, the former Manchester mayor and a former state representative, has worked as a consultant since 2012. He launched the Independent Business Council of New Hampshire a year ago to focus on small business advocacy.
He and his wife, Morgan, have two children. Guinta said his experience and leadership position him well for the general election against Shea-Porter, whom he calls “inaccessible, ineffective and indifferent.”
Asked how he differs from Innis, the Portsmouth businessman who is his main GOP primary rival, Guinta noted that Innis voted in the Democratic presidential primary in 2008, and that Innis voted for Jackie Cilley, a Democrat who ran for governor in 2012.
Guinta opposes any increase in the federal gas tax rate. Innis has said he is open to it as an option to support investments in transportation infrastructure. Guinta said another difference between the two is his support for a balanced budget amendment.
Washington has a crisis in spending, both in short-term and in the long-term, with the national debt pushing $18 trillion, he said.
Reforming the tax code is high on his list. That includes lowering corporate and individual tax rates to boost the economy.
“In Washington, there has to be an expectation that we live within our means, and that doesn’t exist right now,” Guinta said. “Without a strong economy, nothing else is going to work.”