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Healthcare at the center of the 2018 midterms

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Local healthcare advocates are hoping voters will consider what’s at stake before they hit the polls next week. The latest poll from the University of Virginia and Ipsos found Hoosier voters believe healthcare, the economy and immigration are the most important issues in that order.  So members of the nonpartisan group Northern Indiana Community Coalition for Health Care (NICCHC) say they plan to continue to press that issue before and after the elections.

Watch an interview with them above.

Indiana Senate and Second Congressional District candidates faced off in their final debates before election day, spending considerable time discussing the issues of immigration and healthcare.

Below are each candidates’ summarized responses to questions regarding healthcare:

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D)

Senator Donnelly began his response to a question about premiums by citing legislation that he has sponsored in the Senate that would ensure lowered premiums across the board, for people of all income levels.

He also emphasized Mike Braun’s (R) support for a lawsuit that would remove coverage for preexisting conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis, despite Braun’s claims to support coverage for preexisting conditions.

When asked about providing contraceptive coverage, Donnelly referred to his support of the Affordable Care Act, which covers contraceptive coverage. He stated that he is pro-life and has voted accordingly. He also mentioned his opposition to government involvement in personal decisions involving abortions in the case of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk. “That is not our business.”

Mike Braun (R)

Mike Braun answered the question by criticizing Sen. Donnelly’s support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare. He referred to the ACA as the “Unaffordable Care Act”, and criticized the government being “in cahoots with big healthcare, specifically big health insurance.”

Braun stated that he would never support an ACA replacement that would remove coverage for preexisting conditions and that has no cap on coverage.

Mike Braun emphasized his support for the pro-life movement, and touted his endorsement from the both the Indiana Right to Life and National Right to Life organizations.

Lucy Brenton (L)

Lucy Brenton, the Libertarian candidate for Senate, emphasized the inefficiency of government and stressed that it was important to remove government involvement in healthcare. “When government gets involved with things, it gets more expensive, less efficient, costs go up, care goes down.”

Brenton cited her own experience with healthcare as a mother of 10, and lambasted the high costs of healthcare as the result of government involvement in the health insurance industry.

Brenton also emphasized free-market solutions for the healthcare crisis.

When asked about contraceptives, she stated, “I have 10 children. So, the idea of contraceptives is something I’m very much interested in.” She believes contraceptives should be safe, affordable, and widely available in an effort to reduce abortion rates.

Mel Hall (D)

When asked about health insurance coverage, Mel Hall stated that the healthcare crisis is one of the biggest issues the American people face. He stated that people with preexisting conditions “live in fear” of losing their healthcare coverage.

He stated, and emphasized, that Jackie Walorski (R) voted 11 times to take healthcare away from people with preexisting conditions.

“I think we deserve better than that in our 2nd District.”

Mel Hall stated that he would work to bring prescription drug prices down, increase insurance competition, and work to streamline healthcare and remove unnecessary bureaucracy and paperwork in the healthcare industry. He stated that the so-called “Medicare for all” initiative is not feasible in the near future.

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R)

Rep. Jackie Walorski claimed that she had, in fact, voted for protections for people with preexisting conditions. She also emphasized the shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act.

Rep. Walorski reaffirmed her belief that Hoosiers should have access to affordable health care, and stated she would work to repeal the individual mandate. She discussed her expansion of the children’s healthcare program, as well as community health centers.

Walorski stated she would always fight to protect Medicare for both the elderly and the youth, for when young people will eventually need it.


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