Candidates for Iowa House District 2 face off in first debate – Health News Today

On Thursday night, House candidates for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District — Rita Hart and Marianette Miller-Meeks — faced each other in a debate, tackling issues relating to COVID-19 and health-care policy.

Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks (left) speaks with a member of UISG during the Hawkeye Caucus at the State Capitol in Des Moines on April 9, 2019. Iowa State Senator Rita Hart (right) speaks with supporters during her meet and greet at Yotopia on June 30, 2019. (Katie Goodale/The Daily Iowan)

Candidates for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District talked COVID-19 response and health care, among other issues, during an Iowa Press debate held in an empty auditorium on Thursday evening. 

The debate featured Republican candidate Marianette Miller-Meeks, a state senator, and Democratic candidate Rita Hart, a former state senator and 2018 candidate for lieutenant governor. Miller-Meeks is an ophthalmologist and the former director of the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Throughout their campaigns, the candidates have often criticized the other’s health-care policy, with both parties accusing the opposing candidate of threatening protections for pre-existing conditions. Both candidates avoided committing directly to their respective party’s platform on health care.

While she didn’t take a hard stance on whether the Affordable Care Act should be overturned — something President Trump hopes will happen after oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court — Miller-Meeks said Congress should prepare a bipartisan plan that protects pre-existing conditions to replace the ACA.

Hart said that the solution to the health-care crisis needs to be solved in a bipartisan fashion so that things can get done in an effective, sustainable way. She didn’t commit to or rule out adding a public option for health insurance, a centerpiece of Joe Biden’s plan. 

She said that it is troubling that many Republicans have tried to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, which she said would take the country backward, and that she’s open to any plan that will build on current conditions. She said she wants to increase transparency on health-care bills so that people are actually paying for the service they received. 

Ads from Republican groups have targeted Hart’s support for a 2018 bill that allowed the Iowa Farm Bureau to offer health care to its members, but the bill didn’t have protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Republicans in the Legislature overwhelmingly supported the measure. 

When asked if she regrets voting yes on the bill, Hart said that she voted in favor of her constituents and what they wanted and needed. She said the bill helped lower health care prices for farmers that didn’t qualify for federal health-care subsidies.

“I think it’s hypocritical that I’m being attacked for that vote. That was a bill that was put out by a Republican controlled legislature, a Republican bill, it’s certainly not a bill that I thought…

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