Six GOP candidates for the 14th Congressional District reached consensus on a number of health care-related issues – including the protection of individuals with pre-existing conditions and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act – during a round of interviews with Northwest Herald editorial staff.
However, very few strategies were provided on how to achieve these goals.
On Friday, Kendall County Republican Chairman James Marter, Catalina Lauf of Woodstock, Jerry Evans of Warrenville and Anthony Catella of St. Charles met with editorial staff. State Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, and state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, met with staff on Monday.
Ted Gradel – a financial futures trader from Naperville – did not attend either interview but plans to speak with the Northwest Herald's Editorial Board via phone on Wednesday.
Lauf said she supports a full repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.
“It was a policy that was trying to solve human need with government intervention and we need to ensure that, especially when it comes to our health care for 300 million people, it is being solved [and] reform is being solved in a way that is free market,” Lauf said.
Seeking more government control of health care leads to increased costs and lower quality of care, Lauf said.
“People should not be going bankrupt over the high cost of health care but we also need to focus on the quality and solve it, again, in a free market way,” she said.
Marter said, when he left a corporate job in 2002, he was paying about $6,000 a year for health care for his family of six. Marter said his insurance skyrocketed and he now pays about $30,000 a year.
“I’ve seen the disaster of what it’s been,” Marter said.
Instead, Marter said he would like to see health savings accounts for everyone and not just those who meet certain criteria, competition for prescription drugs in all markets across international borders and tort reform.
Catella said he hopes to see comprehensive, high quality health care to be within reach of all Americans and would like to improve vast protections for those with catastrophic illnesses. The state of a family’s health should not be determined by the size of a family’s wealth, he said.
“The guiding principle of a good health care plan is while government has its proper part to play, let us always understand that we must ensure that the medial profession primarily serves its patients and not the federal government,” Catella said.
Evans said he is committed to repealing the Affordable Care Act and has made reform of the health care system one of his top five policy plans. Part of this would include reducing red tape and opening the market to allow insurance and pharmaceutical companies to compete across state lines.
“What I would say is that in the end we have to remember what the ultimate goal is and the ultimate goal is making sure people have adequate access to health care,” Evans said.
Rezin said the reason discussions about health care still happen is because health care is not affordable or accessible.
“Both parties, the Democrat and the Republican parties, have failed I’d say in the last decade to really put a system in place that helps the middle class,” Rezin said. “These are people that are hard working people that make just enough money not to qualify for Medicaid.”
Regarding pre-existing condition protections, Rezin said she is the only candidate who has passed legislation that protects these patients.
In addition, Rezin said health savings accounts should be promoted to help reduce the burden of high deductibles. She also said that there needs to be changes to gag orders on pharmacists that prevent them from disclosing less expensive ways to purchase medicine.
One piece of health care reform Oberweis filed was the Right to Shop Act, which would require insurance companies to publish their average in-network costs online. Shoppers also would be incentivized if they found a health care service provider that collects less than the average in-network amount.
Oberweis said he though the bill was a win-win but insurance companies fought against it over fear of losing control of the marketplace.
Oberweis said that, for the past 12 years, he has proposed allowing the reimportation of American-made drugs from Canada.
“I’m delighted the president has taken up that call because it will save Americans a lot of dollars,” Oberweis said.