Walt Havenstein

New Hampshire Gubernatorial Candidate Havenstein Headed Company That Was Awarded $78 Million In Obamacare Contracts

Walter Havenstein, a GOP candidate for governor of New Hampshire, has implied his opposition to the Affordable Care Act on the campaign trail, but it appears he’s had trouble formulating a genuine statement or position about the law. An article from New Hampshire newspaper Foster’s Daily Democrat reported in May 2014 that Havenstein “favors improving the Affordable Care Act over an outright repeal.” However, in July 2014, Havenstein signed an Americans For Prosperity pledge to “oppose all forms of ObamaCare in New Hampshire”.

According to the Union Leader, Havenstein said “I’ve always opposed Obamacare.”

Havenstein’s true position on Obamacare is becoming more difficult to pinpoint, as two recently published reports have shown that while he was CEO of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), the company received millions to assist the federal government in implementing the law. The first report shows that in 2011, SAIC was awarded $2.4 million “by the Program Management Office set up under the Internal Revenue Service to implement the law,” the Huffington Post reported. Another $2.7 million was awarded to SAIC by the Health Insurance Reform Implementation Fund.

Another report, published Thursday, revealed that SAIC, while Havenstein was still CEO, was awarded a $78 million in contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in February of 2012:

“CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] awarded SAIC in February a five-year, $78 million contract to provide enterprise remote identity proofing and multi-factor authentication credential services. SAIC said the technology will integrate the identity proofing and credential provisioning and minimize the risk of fraud.”

When the media in New Hampshire reported on the first two contracts, Havenstein’s campaign spokesman Henry Goodwin dismissed the news as a business decision contradicting his personal beliefs about the law, saying “Walt has always been opposed to the ACA, so all this illustrates is that the business responsibilities and personal political beliefs of the chief executive of a large company are not one and the same.”

Now after the news of SAIC taking a much larger contract related to implementing Obamacare, Havensetein’s campaign simply repeated, “I would reiterate what we have said before about this, and that is that Walt is opposed to and has always been opposed to Obamacare. All this illustrates is that the personal political viewpoints and the business responsibilities of a chief executive are not the same.”

Since his candidacy announcement in April, Republican voters in New Hampshire have not been given a clear statement by Havenstein regarding his position on Obamacare; he has made generic criticisms of the law, but has yet to detail his plans to either repair or repeal it, other than “encouraging more companies to participate in the state exchange.”

Andrew Hemingway, Havenstein’s primary opponent, was undoubtedly critical of SAIC’s Obamacare contracts. Alicia Preston, Hemingway’s campaign manager, asked “How do you claim to oppose a program you accepted more than $80 million dollars to implement?”

“He took in more than $80 million from taxpayers to implement Obamacare, a program he claims he has always opposed,” Preston pointed out. “Where’s the integrity in that? So, pay enough money and he’ll go against his beliefs? There’s a name for that.”

Perhaps Havenstein will be able to properly articulate his stance on Obamacare next week, as Franklin Pierce University will be hosting a debate between Havenstein, Hemingway, and Jonathan Smolin.