McClintock Admits Flaw in Own Healthcare Policy at Mariposa Debate

Describes his own healthcare plan as 'difficult'


Monday, October 1st, 2018
Makaiah Mohler, (530) 913-3242,
Anthony Kusich, (916) 288-2228,

ROSEVILLE, Calif. – Last weekend, Democratic candidate Jessica Morse and Congressman Tom McClintock met for their first debate and sparred on healthcare policy. After Morse referenced a February 2017 Meet the Press interview where McClintock referred to pre-existing conditions as "nuisances," he became visually agitated. 

McClintock defended his plan to put the estimated 300,000 people in California's 4th district who have pre-existing conditions into high-risk pools, modeled after the auto insurance industry. However he then admitted, "but those are difficult to insure that way." The statement was a noticeable shift for McClintock, undercutting his stated position on healthcare by acknowledging that he has no real plan to cover those with existing health issues. 

The exchange is clear from debate footage:

  • MORSE: Congressman McClintock voted to take away healthcare from 300,000 people in our district who have pre-existing conditions. He brushed it off as a nuisance. Congressman, is cancer a nuisance? Is asthma a nuisance? These aren't nuisances, these are a matter of life and death.

  • McCLINTOCK: I have always advocated taking care of people with pre-existing conditions through the assigned risk pool system that we currently provide for automobile insurance, but those are difficult to insure that way.

As the healthcare repeal vote was approaching last year, the California Medical Association announced its strong opposition to the policy, saying in a statement that the McClintock-backed bill "would erode these important protections by pushing sick Californians into underfunded high-risk pools. It's irresponsible policy because it shifts an even greater financial burden to states, local governments, and health care providers for uncompensated care."

Complete footage of the debate responses can be viewed here.

McClintock is facing his toughest re-election test since his first race in 2008. He trailed Morse in fundraising by a more than two-to-one margin in the most recent finance quarter, taking in only $223,000 to Morse's $543,000. Additionally, every major political prognosticator has moved the race out of the "Safe Republican" category, including Inside Elections, the Cook Political Report, UVA's Crystal Ball, and CNN. In fact, McClintock's 51% showing in June was the lowest total he's ever received in a 4th district primary. Morse was also added to the DCCC's Red to Blue program, which highlights the most competitive Congressional races across the country.