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Fri, Feb. 21

CD1 GOP candidates reflect on federal health care legislation

EDITOR'S NOTE - The Daily Courier newspaper is publishing biographical information about all the candidates for the 1st Congressional District and Legislative District One who are facing competition in the primary election. The newspaper also is running candidates' answers to several questions.Only Republicans are facing primary election competition in the LD1 (House) and CD1 races. Two seats are available in the LD1 House race. Early voting started July 29 and the primary election day is Aug. 24.The primary winner in the CD1 race will face incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, and the primary winners in the LD1 race will face off against Democrat Lindsay Bell in the Nov. 2 general election. Incumbent Republican Arizona Sen. Steve Pierce also will face Democrat Bob Donahue in the LD1 Senate race.Following is the first in a series of questions The Daily Courier asked the Republican primary candidates for Arizona's 1st Congressional District. Their answers are paraphrased.Was the federal health care legislation the right or wrong thing to do? What would you have changed if you could?• Bradley Beauchamp - I actually read all 2,700 pages and three versions of the health care legislation. It didn't reduce costs. And Congress should not have attached unrelated education and IRS items to it.We need insurance plan portability and we should be able to buy it across state lines. We need medical savings accounts and tort reform. But it's unconstitutional to force people to buy insurance.• Rusty Bowers - Wrong. Let the market decide who and what it will cover with insurance. Taxes went up on insurance companies and devices, and they'll just pass that on to customers.The medical community should have been more involved in the legislation instead of insurance companies. Medical care should not exceed need. People who take care of themselves should get tax breaks. And let me buy insurance from other states.• Paul Gosar - Absolutely wrong. Most members of Congress didn't know what's in it. They depended too much on attorneys.We should have started simple and allowed more of the free marketplace to work, such as creative health savings accounts. Malpractice claims should go through mediation, like in Oregon. Reward people for good behavior.• Sydney Hay - Wrong. It won't fix the out-of-control costs. We'll end up rationing health care. It's unconstitutional to force people to buy insurance. I'll work hard to repeal, de-fund or stop the legislation.Hospitals should not be forced to treat people who aren't facing emergencies. Insurance plans need to be portable so people can keep them if they lose their jobs, and they should be able to buy plans across state lines. A giant risk pool would help. And if people could get no-fault plans, promising they won't sue unless doctors commit gross negligence, I bet costs would go way down. Doctors order expensive tests because they fear lawsuits.• Joe Jaraczewski - Wrong. It should have capped medical malpractice suit awards. Local specialists often pay six figures per year for malpractice insurance. We should be able to buy insurance plans across state lines. I support tax credits so people can buy insurance. Tax code reform would help get Medicare and Medicaid under control and help solve our debt crisis.• Jon Jensen - Wrong. It's micromanagement and will make the deficit worse. Everyone shouldn't be forced to buy health insurance.The legislation should be revised or repealed.• Steve Mehta - Wrong. We'll spend years undoing the unintended consequences. The legislation leaves too much power in the hands of the secretary of Health and Human Services. We should have just modified what's not working.We've got to do something about the legal system - losers should pay, and we need damage caps. Innovation comes through reward, not laws. Government has no right to require everyone to have health insurance. And we should be able to buy medicine anywhere we want.• Tom Zaleski - It was unconstitutional with unfunded state mandates, and not necessary.Insurance plans should be portable across state lines. And we need real tort reform. Peers should review accusations against doctors up front to see if the problem was really the doctor's fault, and how much damages should be. If negligence occurs I don't believe in payment caps, but juries are awarding ridiculous amounts to smokers.
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