Calling Obamacare the wrong solution for the country, Republican Michael Macfarlane is running for Kentucky’s Third Congressional District seat against Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth in next year’s election.
A urological surgeon by trade, the 60-year-old Macfarlane has been a Louisville resident for over two decades and previously worked at Jewish Hospital, Norton Healthcare and Baptist East.
In 2007, Macfarlane was voted “Top Surgeon” in Louisville Magazine.
Now in private practice, he has written medical handbooks and authored numerous peer-reviewed scientific journal articles.
Macfarlane says he jumped into the race to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which he believes is wrong for constituents and small businesses.
“The health care law, I think, is the wrong solution for our health care problems in this country and I think I have a lot to offer that can give the opposite opinion and hopefully change it in the right direction so that we don’t continue down this path,” he says.
Yarmuth is the lone Democrat in Kentucky’s congressional delegation and voted for the law in 2010. And he has been it’s chief defender in the state since then, leading a “myth-busting” effort during its initial Oct. 1 roll out.
“We have a different philosophy, obviously,” Macfarlane says. “Congressman Yarmuth is in agreement of expanding government, making it bigger and having more control over our lives. And I think this what this health care law does. We need to bring free-market forces into health care and this law does absolutely nothing to bring down costs, which are too high for everybody.”
A spokesperson with the Yarmuth campaign says their polling figures from 2012 shows the health care law’s popularity in Louisville is over 55 percent, however.
Macfarlane is a political newcomer who is running a decidedly conservative campaign in a district that has become increasingly liberal in recent years.
According to his campaign website, Macfarlane supports gun rights, traditional marriage and a flat tax. He argues the Environmental Protection Agency is running wild under the Obama administration and that charter schools are a needed education option.
Since he was first elected in 2006, Yarmuth has widened his margin of victory over GOP challengers—he easily defeated his Republican opponent last year by a 30-point margin. The Federal Election Commission shows the congressman raised $57,305 in the third quarter and has around $622,000 in cash on hand.
Macfarlane acknowledges it will be an uphill battle in terms of fundraising against the incumbent, but he argues Yarmuth, who is serving his fourth-term in Congress, has been in office long enough.
“Mr. Yarmuth has been there eight years at the end of his term. That’s how long we give presidents and I think that’s reasonable enough time to give congressmen,” says Macfarlane. “We need to have some turnover up there so we get fresh ideas. All we read is people who go to Washington lose sight of the people back home. I’ve been up there a couple of times and it is almost intoxicating for them.”
Asked if term limits should include all Kentucky representatives in Washington such as Congressman Hal Rogers or Senator Mitch McConnell, Macfarlane told the radio station: “Absolutely, all representatives in the country.”
UPDATE 2:25 p.m.:
“Congressman Yarmuth remains engaged in critical national debates over the federal budget and long-term strategies to grow our economy,” says Sarah Martin, treasurer for Yarmuth’s re-election campaign. “There will be plenty of time for the 2014 campaign, and he will be fully prepared for any potential challenger.”