Wisconsin GOP Senate candidate says Republicans 'making a mistake' by not discussing health care

Republicans have a lot of work to do when it comes to healthcare policy, according to Wisconsin GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde.

Health care costs are so high in some areas of the Badger State that many struggle to even access treatment, Hovde told Fox News Digital in an interview.

“You know, the left loves running on Obamacare, and they think they, you know, own health care,” Hovde said. “I think Republicans are making a mistake not talking about it because of the cost of health care since Obamacare was passed, but more importantly than even the cost, the access to care has gone significantly down.”

“Everybody is having struggles, particularly in our rural communities, with getting access to health care,” he added. “America’s health care system is broken, and Obamacare, which was supposed to be a solution, has only made cost and access to care worse.”

Eric Hovde

Eric Hovde, a Wisconsin Republican Senate candidate, speaks at a rally hosted by former President Donald Trump on April 02, 2024, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

This issue became one that is personal to Hovde after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his 20s.

“As someone who was diagnosed with MS at 27 years old, I know on a personal level that we need reforms that provide patient-first solutions to provide greater price transparency, lower costs and improved accessibility,” Hovde said.

Though he intends to make healthcare a major priority of his campaign, other issues facing Wisconsinites include economic insecurity, the southern border crisis, and crime, according to Hovde.

“I would say the economy is the biggest thing,” he said. “I was talking with a younger person who was 21 or 22 years old and she looked at me and said, ‘I’m working two jobs. I work all the time, and I still have to live with my parents. Everything costs way too much.’ So that would probably be the biggest thing that I hear consistently about is the cost of all goods and how expensive everything is.”

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“The border is a huge issue. It’s affecting our state now. People are very concerned about that. So I’d say that’s another big issue,” he added.

The most important issue for each voter depends on where in Wisconsin one lives, Hovde suggested. “If you’re over in Milwaukee, [it’s] crime,” he said. 

“Crime is a very prominent issue here in Milwaukee. Whereas here in the Northwoods or the western part of the state, it’s largely smaller rural communities where they don’t have a crime problem.”

Hovde, who has repeatedly criticized career politicians for their efforts to serve special interest groups rather than their constituents, announced last month that he would donate his congressional salary to charity if he’s elected later this year.

Hovde draws strong distinctions between himself and his rival, Democrat Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who was first elected to the seat in 2012.

Eric Hovde, Wisconsin GOP Senate candidate

When it comes to Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Hovde told Fox, “You couldn’t get two more different people.” (Eric Hovde campaign)

“You couldn’t get two more different people,” Hovde said.

“I’ve spent my life in the private sector, building companies. I’m a serial entrepreneur. I’ve created thousands of jobs through the different companies I’ve built and turned around. I live in the real world, I know what it’s like to buy my own health insurance, but more importantly, the insurance for hundreds of thousands of employees,” he said.

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“I understand how our globalized, financialized economy operates. Senator Baldwin has spent her entire life in politics from the time she graduated from college. She’s your classic career politician,” he added. “She came out of college, ran for Dane County Board of Supervisors. From that she went on to the [Wisconsin] State Assembly. From that, she went on to Congress and now has two terms in the Senate. She’s never operated in the real world. She operates in a political bubble. She doesn’t know the real middle class America, the struggles and the issues they face.”

Referring to her voting record as “atrocious,” Hovde said Baldwin voted “for all this debt that has fueled the inflationary crises.”

“She’s voted in support of President Biden on the border,” he added. “She supported the Iranian deal that President Biden signed with Iran. I mean, insanity. It blew up on Obama, and then he goes and doubles down on that, and she supports him.”

Hovde said Baldwin changes when each election cycle nears. She “comes back during election time, makes these staged events, acts like she’s a moderate, and everybody in Washington knows she’s one of the most progressive liberals there are in the entire Senate,” he said.

Though he has yet to receive his party’s nomination for Senate, Hovde got a boost in support from former President Donald Trump earlier this month.

Donald Trump, Eric Hovde

Former President Donald Trump gave his “complete and total endorsement”Hovde earlier this month. (Getty Images)

During a visit by the former president to Green Bay for a campaign rally, Trump praised Hovde as a “man who’s doing really good” and is “just about even in the polls” before giving him his “complete and total endorsement.”

“I’ve met Eric and I’ve studied Eric because we have to get it right. [He’s] running against some very fine people, really, but I’ve looked it out, and they’re going to have other opportunities,” Trump said at the time. “Eric, I am giving you my complete and total endorsement, so go out and win.”

Hovde said he appreciates Trump’s endorsement and compliments. “It helps with the Trump voters. … It’s a positive,” he said.

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Wisconsin’s primary election is slated for Aug. 13. Hovde is running against half a dozen other Republicans who are seeking the party’s nomination.