Rep. Randy Hultgren, a Republican representing Illinois' 14th Congressional district, appeared last week on WTTW's "Chicago Tonight" show and talked to Eddie Arruza about the political issues related to the Affordable Care Act and some other issues.
Hultgren's Democratic opponent in the upcoming November election, Dennis Anderson, feels he should have been invited too. Hultgren called it a campaign appearance. A representative from Anderson's campaign called a WTTW "Chicago Tonight" producer. Anderson was promised to have on-air time later in the campaign. The representative from the campaign was not pleased with the response.
Hultgren was surprised that the producers of WTTW did not invite him to appear on the program with Hultgren.
Missing from the eleven-minute discussion was Anderson, who took issue with not given equal time to rebut his November opponent. "That the appearance was, in fact, a campaign opportunity was made clear by Mr. Arruza’s introduction to the segment."
"I would welcome the opportunity to appear on Chicago Tonight to speak for myself."
Hultgren easily defeated Dennis Anderson, his Democratic challenger in the 2012 election. Hultgren received 58 percent of the vote and Anderson received 42 percent of the vote. However, Anderson is taking on Hultgren once again in the 2014 election.
Anderson took issue with the comments made by Hultrgren about the Affordable Care Act. Anderson charges that Hultgren is being less than honest when he claimed that he wants to "fix" President Obama's legacy legislation. The claim belies Hultrgen's record of consistently voting with his Republican and Tea Party colleagues to "repeal and obliterate the ACA."
Anderson particularly took issue with Hultgren's responses to questions about the Affordable Care Act. "Hultgren is certainly a reliable source of Republican Party-issued talking points. With regard to the ACA these talking points have gone from 'a government takeover of the best health care system in the world', to the imminent threat of identity theft, to massive loss of coverage, to low enrollment numbers, to enrollment numbers that need to be verified."
"Mr. Hultgren has voted numerous times for a wholesale repeal of the ACA, his preferred alternative seems to be nothing more than allowing insurance companies to sell policies across state lines. If anyone believes that that single change would solve the myriad problems with the Nation’s health care system, they haven’t really looked at the issue," said Anderson.
Arruza asked why "Obamacare would be viewed as a 'major failure of the president’s agenda,' since the President reported last week that 8 million Americans, one-third of them under 35 years-old, have signed up."
Hultrgen responded, "It's interesting we do want to see the real numbers. Enrollment truly is when consumers make their first premium payments. Still a lot of questions who those people are and what the real number will be. We want to continue working on this.
The law needs "changes" to make this more palatable.
Hultrgen claims that voters are "still frustrated and their still concerned. They are still finding cancellation notices and their doctor will no longer treat them."
Hultgren claimed that he wants to "fix' the law, in spite of the fact he has voted to "repeal and obliterate the law" some 50 plus times. A recent piece posted by Hultgren on Fox News brings this into focus. Hultgren claims to have an alternative in H.R. 3121, the American Health Care Reform Act.
A closer look at the Republican-based proposal shows a number of things.
- Fully repeals President Obama's health care law, eliminating billions in taxes and thousands of pages of unworkable regulations and mandates that are driving up health care costs.
- Spurs competition to lower health care costs by allowing Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines and enabling small businesses to pool together and get the same buying power as large corporations.
- Reforms medical malpractice laws in a commonsense way that limit trial lawyer fees and non-economic damages while maintaining strong protections for patients.
- Provides tax reform that allows families and individuals to deduct health care costs, just like companies, leveling the playing field and providing all Americans with a standard deduction for health insurance.
- Expands access to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), increasing the amount of pre-tax dollars individuals can deposit into portable savings accounts to be used for health care expenses.
- Safeguards individuals with pre-existing conditions from being discriminated against purchasing health insurance by bolstering state-based high-risk pools and extending HIPAA guaranteed availability protections.
- Protects the unborn by ensuring no federal funding of abortions.
Hultgren's claim that he wants to "fix" the law does not seem to hold water, since he has voted for repeal of the law every time it came up for a vote in the House of Representatives some 50 times. His own legislation, H.R. 3121, calls for the ACA to be "fully repealed."
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