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9th District congressional candidates argue health reform


By Mary Kenney



Health care reform has been a hot topic for both lawmakers and average citizens since President Barack Obama’s 2008 victory. Candidates for the 2010 elections have taken different stances on the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is to be fully enacted within the next few years.

The 9th District congressional candidates each offered their opinions on U.S. health care.

TODD YOUNG
Republican Todd Young is a Marine veteran who earned his J.D. from IU. He currently serves as deputy prosecutor and previously worked as a delegate to the Indiana Republican State Convention and as a vice precinct committeeman.

Young said the government needs to get health care inflation under control. He said health care has not been made more affordable for Americans as the reform was intended.

“I actually think that health care reform is a good idea, but I think the end product that congress arrived at was tragic in its result because it actually bends the cost curve of our health insurance upward,” Young said. “The primary objective as I understood it, as I think millions of Americans understood it when we embarked on health care reform, was to make health insurance more affordable.”

Young has several ideas to control inflation.

“One of the things is to allow people, for example in southern Indiana, to buy health insurance in Ohio or Kentucky or Illinois or any state in the country, but you can’t do that right now because we have state-by-state barriers, so let’s tear those barriers down,” Young said.

He also said that the medical malpractice lawsuits system needs to be reformed so that doctors prescribe what they think is the appropriate amount of medication or treatment without the fear of being sued because a lawyer second-guessed their decisions.

BARON HILL
Baron Hill is the Democrat incumbent, first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998. He is currently serving his fifth term and is running for re-election this year. He voted in favor of the health care bill.

He said that health care legislation was needed as a first step to bring down health care costs.

“It will provide health care for Americans while also making insurance more affordable through programs like tax credits for small businesses that provide insurance for their employees,” Hill said.

He also said that it will provide important provisions. People can now stay on their parents’ health insurance until they are 26 years old. Hill named this as one of the most important reforms in health care.

“It will also lower the deficit by more than $143 billion in 10 years,” Hill said.

GREG KNOTT
Greg Knott is the Libertarian candidate for the 9th District congressional seat. He is a graduate of IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and currently works as an IT network administrator.

He said that health care is a difficult topic to address concisely because of its many
problems.

“In my view, the underlying problem in health care is that consumers have become disconnected from the real costs of their decisions in the current employer-based third party payer system,” Knott said.

He agreed with Young that interstate competition and medical malpractice reform would be positive changes in health care.

Knott said he wishes to enact the Healthy Americans Act, a Senate bill that failed to pass in 2008. The act sought a universal health care system paid for by public and private contributions. Private insurance plans would have been established, and people without religious reasons prohibiting the purchase of health care would have been required to do so.

“A consumer-driven approach like health savings accounts is my favored long-term solution to lowering health care costs,” Knott said.

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