Democrats in 6th Congressional race don't want to repeal Affordable Care Act
Congressional candidate Amanda Howland's personal experience with the Affordable Care Act hasn't been positive.
The Lake Zurich Democrat says her former health insurance provider stopped offering the "top-of-the-line, gold PPO" policy she used to have because of President Barack Obama's signature health care law.
"I think that it (the Affordable Care Act) was rolled out too quickly," said Howland, who is seeking her party's nomination in the 6th Congressional District. "That's why we have some of these unanticipated consequences."
Despite those issues, Howland and her opponent in the Democratic primary -- Robert Marshall of Burr Ridge -- both say they support the Affordable Care Act and don't want it to be repealed. But they disagree on some of the particulars of the law.
"I believe there are ways that we can change some of the provisions to tweak the program to make it work," Howland said.
Democratic voters will decide March 15 whether they want Howland or Marshall to face the GOP nominee in the fall for the Republican-controlled 6th Congressional District seat.
The district, which includes parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties, has been represented by Peter Roskam since 2007. The Wheaton Republican is being challenged in the GOP primary by Gordon "Jay" Kinzler of Glen Ellyn.
During a recent interview with the Daily Herald editorial board, Marshall and Howland disagreed when it came to the mandate requiring people to have health insurance.
Marshall, a 72-year-old radiologist, says he wants the mandate to be eliminated because he believes participation in Obamacare should be voluntary.
"I don't like the idea of the federal government hunting down every last person to make sure they buy something," he said.
"Right now, the people are buying it because it's a good product," Marshall added. "So why couldn't we just continue that way? Keep the subsidies. Keep all the other parts of the program available, but make it voluntary."
However, Howland says it's "not necessarily a bad idea" to require people to get health insurance.
"That takes the burden off the rest of us that are paying taxes for people who are going (to a hospital) with no insurance," said Howland, a 63-year-old attorney.
Still, Howland said there are steps Congress could take to lower the cost of health insurance. "We need to look at insurance exchanges making the insurance companies more competitive so the costs come down," she said.
In the meantime, Marshall said that if he's elected to Congress he would propose expanding Medicare by lowering the eligibility age to 62.
"You do it slowly," Marshall said. "If you do it piecemeal like that, I think you can keep the program intact and solvent and as popular as it is now."