Candidates for Indiana's 9th Congressional District discussed health care policy issues Monday night at a public forum sponsored by Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan.
The forum featured Democratic candidates Dan Canon, Liz Watson and Rob Chatlos and Republican primary challenger James Dean Alspach. The only candidate to decline an invitation to this forum was incumbent Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, R-9th District.
Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan is an organization that advocates for single-payer, universal health care at both the national and state level. The organization sponsored this event to allow candidates to explain their positions on health care and give voters a chance to tell the candidates what concerns they have, the organization's director, Rob Stone, said.
The candidates spoke about how they planned to combat the opioid crisis and high health care costs, how to change corporate influence, the concerns they believe people in the 9th Congressional District have, and their position on universal health care.
“Health care costs are out of control,” Canon said. “Medicare, just plain out Medicare, is not going to do it. We’re going to have an expanded and strengthened Medicare for all if we're going to do Medicare for All.”
Medicare for All is the name of a bill introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, that includes single-payer, universal health care. Democrats Watson and Chatlos were also both advocates for single-payer, universal health care and said they believe health care is a right.
“How much do we care about each other?” Chatlos said. “So many people have gone a majority of their lives without health care, including me. Enough is a enough.”
Alspach said he too believes there are health care cost issues in the United States and said he would support universal health care if a state could create a working plan. Alspach is a business owner who has a background in political science and medicine.
“It’s a series of steps,” Alspach said. “Step one is health care education for the major issues like HIV, heart disease, diabetes and addiction in universal cohorts that make private insurance affordable.”
Every candidate agreed that there are health care issues in the U.S., but Canon disagreed with Alspach that the issue must be addressed incrementally.
“We must be revolutionary in our aspirations,” Canon said. “We must have goals and our goal must be single-payer universal health care.”
Canon, Chatlos, Watson and Alspach agreed health care is something all Americans should have and said it is an important part of their campaigns. Individually, each candidate said they hope to make major changes in the health care system if they are elected.
“This is a grassroots movement,” Watson said. “This is what we need to keep doing. I encourage you all to fight.”
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