KSDebate – Health Care: Controlling cost without restricting access

Tim Carpenter, The Topeka Capital-Journal: Both of you say the Affordable Care Act as flawed.  How should the federal government intervene in the health insurance market to control cost without restricting access?

Pat Roberts (R): Once again, number one, you are not going to have any repeal or replacement of the Affordable Healthcare Act with Harry Reid acting as the majority leader. I believe we should repeal it and replace the Affordable Healthcare Act but my opponent will not do that. He is also for amnesty, I am not. He wants to restrict the first and second amendments. I do not. He is against the keystone pipeline. I am not. And the list goes on. He is pro-abortion. I am not.

These are the kinds of issues that, I think, the Chamber of Commerce again took a look at and said he is a ‘liberal democrat’ — by deed, by word, and by campaign contributions. So, on the Affordable Healthcare Act, I think we have to repeal and replace it with more market-oriented solutions. We have to end this assault with higher premiums, lost insurance, interference with the doctor-patient relationship, many doctors quitting — the list goes on. Not to mention, rationinig boards in Washington. So the first step: Repeal and replace it. You will get that from a Republican majority.

Greg Orman (I): I’ve said this a lot in this campaign — I actually believe President Obama and Harry Reid are part of the problem. But I also believe Senator, you are part of the problem, too. You have been in Washington for 47 years. During that period of time, the number of undocumented people in this country has grown from one million to over 11.5 million. Our debt has grown from under a trillion dollars to over $18 trillion. In the last decade, you even voted to support funding for the “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska. As it relates to the Affordable Care Act, I’ve been very clear on this from the beginning. I didn’t support the Affordable Care Act when it was passed. In fact, the senator wants to talk about my campaign contributions, in 2010, I gave a campaign contribution to Scott Brown, who was supposed to be the deciding vote against the Affordable Care Act. The reason I didn’t like it was because I thought the Affordable Care Act was expanding a broken system. We pay for quantity in this country and not for quality. We need to fundamentally change the incentives so that we can deliver better quality care at a lower price.

Pat Roberts (R): My opponent’s friend, Harry Reid, a person he contributed money to, and President Obama, who he voted for and contributed money to, described the Affordable Healthcare Act as the first step towards national health insurance. That is the wrong way to go. You must repeal it first, replace it with more market-oriented solutions. You do not get there from here unless you elect a Republican majority in the United States Senate — working with the House. The Senate has passed bill after bill after bill that would be helpful with regards to replacing Obamacare.

Greg Orman (I): Again, as I said from the beginning, I was not an initial supporter of the Affordable Care Act and I do not believe it was the right decision. Right now, what we have is a healthcare affordability issue in this country. We had it before the Affordable Care Act, we have it today. And this is just what you see in Washington. Instead of talking about how to adress the issue of healthcare affordability, we take an issue like the Affordable Care Act and we try to make it a political football. Ultimately, it prevents them from having to make the hard decisions that we need to make to secure American’s future, financially.

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