Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican from Mississippi, promotes herself to voters as a fervent follower of President Donald Trump — the type of conservative who will tirelessly work to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
“You know, Obamacare is the worst thing that happened to us,” Hyde-Smith said on Tuesday evening during her debate against Mike Espy, her challenger in a November 27 runoff election. Hyde-Smith repeated her intent to “end” the law.
In 2011, Hyde-Smith said that Mississippi should do more to ask the government for the public money made available as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Not long ago, however, Hyde-Smith sang a different tune. As a state lawmaker, she produced a report in the legislature recommending that Mississippi do more to ask the government for the public money made available as part of the Affordable Care Act.
The 2011 report noted that Mississippi “had not taken full advantage of more than $22 billion in federal project grant funds made available to states, local governments, and other entities through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” The report called for the state apply for cash through the recently enacted health care reform law.
The document was released as part of the Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review, a joint legislative task force overseen by Hyde-Smith and set up to identify grant opportunities for Mississippi.
Though the Affordable Care Act is known primarily for establishing a standard level of care for insurance coverage, subsidies for the individual market, and the expansion of Medicaid, the law also created a range of funding opportunities for community health clinics, nursing and physician training efforts, and other programs to expand access to health care.
The senator’s office did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Hyde-Smith was elected to the Mississippi state Senate in 1999, after spending several years as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. She initially served as a Democrat before joining a wave of other local politicians in switching to the GOP in 2010.
In March of this year, Republican Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith to fill the vacancy left by Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., who resigned due to health problems. Since then, she has worked to build political support to win the seat outright in the election this year. During the general election earlier this month, she staked out strong support for Trump to compete with Chris McDaniel, a GOP candidate who cast himself as the anti-establishment pick.
None of the candidates in the November 6 election earned over 50 percent of the vote, with Hyde-Smith and Epsy advancing to the runoff. In recent days, Hyde-Smith faced controversy over a picture showing her wearing Confederate garb and for glib comments about how she would gladly attend a “public hanging.”