10th Congressional hopefuls talk Obamacare
Six years after its passage, the Affordable Care Act is a source of strife between the Democrats running for Illinois' 10th Congressional District seat.
The primary race pits Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering against former U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, who is trying to regain the congressional seat after losing it to U.S. Rep. Robert Dold two years ago.
Both Rotering and Schneider support Obamacare, but Rotering accuses Schneider of trying to delay the law's implementation, something he flatly denies.
Rotering also tried to bring Schneider relatives who work in the insurance industry into the fight -- but Schneider pointed out they work in property and casualty insurance, not health insurance.
At a recent Daily Herald editorial board meeting with both candidates, Rotering accused Schneider of voting to delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2013, when he was in Congress.
Schneider argued that the votes he cast that July were intended to delay penalizing people who hadn't yet bought insurance and small businesses that hadn't yet created insurance plans for employees.
He said he wanted to give people incentive to participate in the health care plan, rather than issue penalties.
"You're trying to say that I blocked people's access to health care? That's just absolutely false," Schneider said.
The 10th District includes parts of Cook and Lake counties, from Lake Michigan south into the North and Northwest suburbs.
The winner of the March 15 Democratic primary will face Dold, a Kenilworth Republican, in the November general election. Dold is unopposed for the GOP nomination.
Schneider, of Deerfield, was the 10th District congressman from 2013 to 2015. Schneider unseated Dold in 2012 but lost in a rematch two years later.
Rotering is in her second term as Highland Park mayor.
Schneider is endorsed by U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat and former House speaker who was one of the chief advocates of the Affordable Care Act.
Rotering, meanwhile, is endorsed by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, one of Illinois' most powerful Democrats.
Both Schneider and Rotering think Obamacare needs improvements. Rotering said more needs to be done to tackle health care care fraud. She also criticized doctors who order more tests than needed for patients.
Schneider supports repealing the ACA tax on medical devices, saying the fee "put a restraint on innovation."
In response, Rotering said Schneider has gotten donations from companies that make medical devices.
A subsequent Daily Herald review of Schneider's campaign finance reports from his time in Congress showed donations from Cardinal Health, Pfizer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals America and other health care companies.