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NC Congressional Candidates Answer Questions on Health Policy: Districts 10 – 13

Our reporters spent several weeks calling and emailing all of NC’s Congressional candidates to ask the same three questions on health policy. We asked about the Affordable Care Act, women’s health issues and Medicare.

Our goal was to talk to candidates and get their stated thoughts on issues, not just reprint canned answers about these important issues from their websites or press handlers, so if we could not speak to the candidate, we did not print their response.

Their answers are here.

By Saja Hindi, Rose Hoban, Ben McNeeley, Brenda Porter-Rockwell

District 10

Patrick McHenry

Patrick McHenry

Patrick McHenry, (R- incumbent) http://www.mchenryforcongress.com/

Your stance on the Affordable Care Act. If part of the answer is to “repeal and replace” please be specific about what you would replace it with.

I’ve fought to repeal legislation that hurts small businesses and our economy, like Obamacare.  In a recent survey, 78 percent of small business owners said that new regulations like President Obama’s healthcare law make it more difficult for them to hire new employees. My opponent supports Obamacare and would also support efforts to expand the program if elected.

Now, we all agree that health insurance reforms are needed if we’re going to get our deficit under control, but expanding Obamacare and increasing the size of government isn’t the answer.  We need real reforms that will actually lower the cost of care for those who need it most.

That’s why conservatives in Congress have pushed to repeal this legislation and replace it with patient-centered healthcare reform focused on lowering costs.  We’ll enact medical liability reform, permit the purchase of health insurance across state lines, expand health savings accounts, and ensure access for patients with preexisting conditions.

Your stance on women’s health issues, including abortion and birth control.

I believe women should have the right to make their own decisions regarding their healthcare.  When those decisions are intertwined with another life, as in pregnancy, mothers must consider the implications on both lives.  We must protect human life at all stages, from conception to until natural death.


Your stance on how to keep Medicare solvent into the future.  

I believe in the promises we’ve made to our seniors about Medicare. That’s why I’ve voted to protect, preserve, and strengthen Medicare for current seniors and future generations. I’ll continue to fight to repeal Obamacare and its 716 billion dollar raid on Medicare, which my opponent, Patsy Keever, supports.

Some changes have to be made to save Medicare for current and future generations, but no changes will be made for anyone over the age of 55.  When young workers become eligible, Medicare will provide a premium-support payment and a list of guaranteed coverage options – including a traditional Medicare option – from which recipients can choose a plan that best suits their needs.

Patsy Keever

Patsy Keever

Patsy Keever (D)  keeverforcongress.com/

Your stance on the Affordable Care Act. If part of the answer is to “repeal and replace” please be specific about what you would replace it with.

This is a hotly contested issue, not just in the Presidential race but also in almost every race in the country. My first priority if I am elected will be to listen to my constituents. I have heard throughout the district from people who support and oppose the Affordable Care Act. It is my job, as a supporter of this common-sense initiative, to move beyond the partisan hysteria surrounding it and see how we can make the law work best for the people of North Carolina.

The law has benefited some of my constituents already; I’ve heard from parents who have been able to keep their children on their own health insurance plans and people who are now able to get insurance who couldn’t before due to a pre-existing condition. These are important aspects of the law that benefit many Americans. However, my opponent has indicated that he would repeal the Affordable Care Act “lock, stock and barrel,” without anything in mind to replace it with. We cannot just “repeal and replace” – creating new laws take time. Repealing the law with nothing to immediately replace it with would unfairly target young people under the age of 26, and it would abandon individuals with pre-existing conditions who would once again lose access to health insurance.

Repealing the law would also remove the mandate requiring insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on patient care, which could cause premiums to rise.

I think it is important to remember that most of this law does not actually go into effect until 2014 – repealing the law before it has had a chance to take effect, I think, would be a dire mistake. Again, my first job when in office would be to listen to my constituents. After the law has been implemented, if I begin hearing that it is having a detrimental effect in any way (particularly on small businesses), I’ll be the first one to step up and fight for any changes that we need to make to it. Repealing the law and reverting to a health care system that does not work for everyone is not the answer. However, we must be open to honest discussion about the law and be willing to make any changes needed so that we can begin to build a health care system that works for all Americans.

Your stance on women’s health issues, including abortion and birth control.

Women today are often the heads of their households and leaders in their communities, and I think it is time for legislators in Washington to finally respect the ability of women to make their own decisions, particularly regarding their health care.

These aren’t simply health care issues, they are issues of economics and issues of respect. Instead of telling women what health care decisions to make, we should be making it easier for women to have access to preventive care, breast cancer screenings, pre-natal care, and other types of care that are important to women of all ages.

As a mother and a grandmother, I know what joy a child can bring into a woman’s life and into a family’s life.

Your stance on how to keep Medicare solvent into the future.  

I am a firm believer in Medicare. The seniors of our nation earned their Medicare coverage with a lifetime of hard work and contributions to the system, and we must keep our pledge to them.

Many seniors and their families in the 10th District depend on Medicare for important preventative care, prescriptions, and doctor’s office visits. However, the program currently faces serious challenges that must be addressed if we hope to preserve the program for seniors in the future.

Currently, Medicare spends more money than it takes in, so we need to have a serious conversation about cutting wasteful spending in the program. This does not mean turning the program into a voucher system, as my opponent has proposed, because the privatized vouchers would not keep up with rising healthcare costs, especially as insurance companies continue to spend significant percentages of money on advertising to compete for business.

District 11

Mark Meadows

Mark Meadows

Mark Meadows, (R )  www.meadowsforcongress.com/

Mr. Meadows’ campaign did not respond to multiple calls and emails requesting an interview.

 

 

 

 

Hayden Rogers

Hayden Rogers

Hayden Rogers, (D)

Your stance on the Affordable Care Act. If part of the answer is to “repeal and replace” please be specific about what you would replace it with.

While I would have voted against the 2010 health care bill had I been a Member of Congress during the time of its consideration, I don’t think full repeal of this bill is the best option. It is time now that we move beyond old battles, put partisan politics aside, and start working together as Democrats and Republicans to achieve real solutions that increase access, improve the quality of care, and reduce the cost of health care for all Americans.

I believe we must keep the good portions of the ACA—closing the “donut hole” for seniors, prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions, and allowing children up to 26 to stay on their parents’ insurance plans—while eliminating the portions of the bill that are not good. This is the best and most pragmatic way forward.

Your stance on women’s health issues, including abortion and birth control.

I am pro-life. However, as someone who is pro-life, I believe we must do everything we can to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Women must have access to affordable preventative health care and family planning services.

Your stance on how to keep Medicare solvent into the future.  

Medicare is not only one of the most popular federal programs, it is one of the most successful – and I am committed to keeping in that way. If serious long-term reforms are not made to Medicare, the Medicare Hospital Trust Fund will be insolvent by the year 2024. We must make substantive reforms to Medicare in order to preserve the traditional program for both current and future beneficiaries. I do not support a voucher program for Medicare and believe we must protect and improve the current system.

There are bipartisan steps we can take to cut costs from Medicare without hurting future beneficiaries. One simple thing we can do is allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies to set prices. This would save $200 billion over ten years. We can find even more billions of dollars in savings by eliminating Medicare waste and fraud. We also need to make innovative reforms that encourage doctors and patients to discuss the price of health care services so that Medicare beneficiaries are better able to make cost-conscious decisions.

District 12

Mel Watt

Mel Watt

Mel Watt (D – Incumbent)  www.wattforcongress.com

Congressman Watt’s campaign declined requests for an interview.

 

 

 

 

Jack Brosch

Jack Brosch

Jack Brosch (R)  www.broschforcongress.com

Your stance on the Affordable Care Act. If part of the answer is to “repeal and replace” please be specific about what you would replace it with.

I’d repeal and replace.

Specifically to replace it, the GOP has listed eight individual proposals on their website. The one thing I would do is make (the law) individual proposals rather than one monstrosity of a bill.

Being a conservative Republican, I believe in a minimal government concept. I definitely don’t believe in single payer, and I don’t believe in a government mandate to purchase health care insurance. Some other areas are looking at tort reforms.

Part of the original reason was to reduce expenses and one way to do that is to give people the ability to purchase insurance across state lines.

I think there are good portions of the bill, like extending health insurance coverage for kids on parents’ plans until 26 and access (for people) with pre-existing conditions, but those can be written on individual policies.

Your stance on women’s health issues, including abortion and birth control.

As far as the liberal or Democratic claim that we’re having a war on women, on Planned Parenthood, my response would be, “So you’re telling me if the KKK offered breast exams, you’d be OK with everything else they would do?”

I think the Republican Party wants to have a conversation about when life begins, and the Democratic Party doesn’t seem to have a problem with partial birth abortions — they even have an employee who believes in infanticide up to two years of age.

Your stance on how to keep Medicare solvent into the future.  

One thing we need to do is actively prosecute fraud and abuse. Two different companies, IBM and another in North Carolina called SAS, have programs or offered programs to figure out expenses and fraud in Medicare. Both companies’ offers declined by the federal government because the companies wanted to maintain any patents.

I also think we need to look at means testing and raising the age for Social Security and Medicare and link it to life expectancy.

District 13

George Holding

George Holding

George Holding (R)     www.georgeholdingforcongress.com

Mr. Holding’s campaign did not respond to multiple calls and emails requesting an interview.

 

 

 

 

Charles Malone

Charles Malone

Charles Malone (D)  www.malone4congress.com

Your stance on the Affordable Care Act. If part of the answer is to “repeal and replace” please be specific about what you would replace it with.

I support the Affordable Care Act, and endorse it’s purpose and in the time frame in which it’s operating. I think it’s a step in the right direction to expand coverage and to begin to reform the operations and administration of healthcare delivery so we can see a reduction in price.

I think systemically it has things in it that will help in terms of helping those folks who just can’t accord to have health care, it gives them coverage in or out of a job… it gives coverage for kids, those with preexisting conditions, a host of humane features that I think are good for us.

Your stance on women’s health issues, including abortion and birth control.

I support the funding of Planned Parenthood because of all the functions and good work that it does.

I agree it’s settled law that a woman has a right to choose in abortion matters. With that said, I’d like to do everything possible to reduce abortions and create a culture of life for young women to be able to keep their children and give them the resources to make the decision clearly and not under duress of having nowhere to go. So it should be ultimately their choice.

I think that (birth control) is a covered product in women’s health care and should be included. I believe that one of the things we have here is that if you don’t have this right to these products, the wealthy find more ways to do what they need to, whereas poor women don’t have that choice.  So we need to help publicly help them as much as we can, to level that field.

Your stance on how to keep Medicare solvent into the future.  

I believe that we, the Obama plan is a good start because of the Affordable Care Act they’re finding efficiencies and savings in how healthcare is administered and delivered through changing payments from quantity of care to quality of care, where you’re paid on results not on the numbers of tests a doctor does.

Also, with more fees and a reduction of pay that we give to providers and medical suppliers and insurers and docs that will bring on savings. Of course, the wide expansion of coverage will bring revenue to offset those fees. And young people will be mandated to get insurance, and their insurance premiums should offset the cost of taking care of the very sick.

And I believe that the $716 billion that they talk about is projected savings not money taken away from the program itself.

These things will protect the solvency of Medicare as well as insure the dream that we should have as civilized country that health care is a right and not a privilege.

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