03/10/2014 03:00 pm ET Updated Mar 10, 2014

GOP Senate Candidate Who Wants To Repeal Obamacare Once Backed Federal Solution


A Georgia Republican Senate candidate who has called for a "full repeal" of the Affordable Care Act -- characterizing it as an "overreaching federal program" -- once argued in favor of a federal health care solution.

David Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General, spoke of the need for a federal solution to the nation's high uninsured rate in 2006 at a meeting of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, The Daily Caller reported Monday.

"It's a tragedy that so many people are uninsured," Perdue said at the meeting, according to the Dallas Morning News, adding that he did not want the issue left to the states. "It needs to be addressed at the federal level," Perdue said.

A spokesman for Perdue's campaign told The Daily Caller that there was no conflict in Perdue's previous support for the idea of a federal health care law and his current opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

“David supports the full repeal of Obamacare," spokesman Derrick Dickey said. "However, he along with many other Republicans recognize that there are issues that must be addressed at the federal level. For example, Georgia Congressman Dr. Tom Price has a great patient-centered alternative to replace Obamacare."

Perdue, the cousin of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) and a former director of the Georgia Ports Authority, has been critical of the health care law throughout his Senate bid. The candidate's website calls it "an overreaching federal program that will actually reduce the quality of health care and increase costs."

In January, Perdue wrote in a blog post that he and his wife's health insurance was canceled and their insurance premium doubled because of the Affordable Care Act.

"We did not have a 'substandard' plan with a second rate company," Perdue wrote. "We had done our research and picked a plan that met our needs. However, our federal government, in its infinite wisdom, decided that we grandparents needed maternity coverage among other things."

One of Perdue's primary opponents, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), drew criticism from conservatives after he said Republicans should improve, rather than repeal, the Affordable Care Act.

"A lot of conservatives say, 'Nah, let’s just step back and let this thing fall to pieces on its own.' But I don’t think that’s always the responsible thing to do," Kingston said. "I think we need to be looking for things that improve health care overall for all of us. And if there is something in ObamaCare, we need to know about it." Kingston later said his comments had been misinterpreted.

Perdue and Kingston are two of many candidates running in the May 20 Republican primary. Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), is expected to be the Democratic nominee.



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