Congressional hopeful Adam Kwasman formally disclosed Thursday he has a type of blood cancer but denied the timing of his press conference is political.
Kwasman, locked in a three-way race for the GOP nomination in CD 1, told reporters he never wanted to have to say publicly he was diagnosed about a year ago with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a non-fatal disease. He said only some friends and colleagues knew.
“There's no need to scare the public,” he said. “There is no need to let people run wild with different theories.”
Kwasman said the only reason for the press conference was “because the rumor mill started going” as people he knew saw him at the University of Arizona cancer center. He said while he first went to the doctor because he was feeling fatigue, he is not sick, does not expect to get sick and is currently not undergoing any treatment.
“My doctor said, ‘You have a clean bill of health except for the fact that we found something in your blood,’” he said. “It does not change your lifestyle in the least.”
But Kwasman used the press conference to say how his disease has made his bid to kill the Affordable Care Act all the more “personal.”
He acknowledged, that if he loses the congressional race — and when the state-provided health insurance expires when his legislative term ends in January — he would become a beneficiary of a key provision of the law: He could not be denied future coverage based on his preexisting condition.
Kwasman said, though, that does not change his desire to repeal the law. Instead, he wants to replace it with an entirely different system based on block grants to states, but one that would keep the non-deniability language, but he conceded that his own party has so far failed to offer any meaningful alternative.
“The Republicans in the past have failed when it comes to healthcare reform. They have. They have,” he said. But he insisted that “the Democrats have failed miserably when it comes to Obamacare.”
Kwasman is locked in a three-way primary with House Speaker Andy Tobin and rancher Gary Kiehne to be the Republican nominee for the sprawling horseshoe-shaped congressional district that runs from the state's northern and eastern borders through Flagstaff and Sedona down into Graham and Greenlee counties and then across through Oro Valley and Marana and up into Casa Grande and Maricopa. The survivor will face off against incumbent Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick.