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Iowa’s Third Congressional District Candidates Engage in Their First Debate

SHENANDOAH, Iowa — Democratic Candidate Cindy Axne, Incumbent Republican Congressman David Young and Libertarian Candidate Bryan Jack Holder all sat down together at KMA Radio in Shenandoah, Iowa on Sunday to answer questions on topics like healthcare, the economy and trade policies.

This was the first debate all three candidates participated in.

The topic that inspired the most debate was healthcare.

Questions asked:

How do you assess the current health insurance environment in the country and how can congress fix any issues?

Candidate responses:

Holder said, “We need to do something to reduce the cost of these services and I believe it starts with price transparency. So that us as consumers can shop around. There’s a lot of medical procedures that are standardized, that you can do some competitive pricing and find where it’s going to be most beneficial to go to that provider.”

Axne said, “We should never go back to a time where Iowans are forced to determine if they’re going to put food on the table or keep the lights on or make sure their family has the healthcare that they need. So I want to make sure that we protect Iowans and that we have affordable, quality care for everyone. That we ensure that we cover people with pre-existing conditions, that we keep kid on plans, that we negotiate the cost of prescription drugs and that we lower overall costs of insurance overall.”

Young said, “We need to get after the cost. Transparency is very important. If we know what the costs are before we go in to see a provider or hospital, that competition would drive down prices and we would have better quality as well. My goal has always been to make sure with those with pre-existing conditions have the protections they need.”

Before Axne answered the final question about security, she diverted back to healthcare.

“I do want to go back to discuss something here, because unfortunately Congressman Young has voted to eliminate coverage for people with preexisting conditions. He did that in his vote in 2015, to eliminate coverage for people across this nation. He did that again in the disastrous republican healthcare bill when he voted for it and certainly the amendment he is discussing to cover people with pre-existing conditions allowed insurance companies to charge any price that they would like. So I don’t think the million people here under age 65 in Iowa, with a preexisting condition, would consider that coverage when it’s absolutely unaffordable,” Axne said.

Young and Holder both had a chance for rebuttal.

“Cindy, what you’re saying is just not true and you are scaring people right now. The amendment that I had passed had four layers of protections: one, to make sure that those with preexisting conditions could not be discriminated against and not be allowed to have insurance, two, to ensure that they weren’t priced differently, three, the state was granted a waiver from the affordable care act, they had to have protections for preexisting conditions, and four, if folks couldn’t afford their health insurance for any reason with preexisting conditions there was a fund there to make sure that their bills were covered. That amendment passed. That amendment had my name on it,” Young said.

Holder said, “In my opinion the individual mandate to purchase insurance violates our liberty of contract to force us to purchase a product against our will and we feel we can’t pay for it. That’s unamerican. When the democrats were in charge of congress they could have put through a single payer, but they didn’t have the political courage to do that, instead they threw us to the wolves, to the predatory health insurance companies.”

You can watch the full debate here.