The candidates for Iowa’s Fourth District congressional seat were in Mason City on Sunday to take part in a debate. Health care issues were key topics. Incumbent Republican Tom Latham of Alexander says medical malpractice laws need to be revised to help revitalize health care in rural Iowa.
Latham says reforming malpractice laws is one of the critical issues facing Iowa as far as access to quality health care. Out of 99 counties, he says 31 counties in the state now have doctors that will deliver a baby, down from 37 not long ago. Latham says young people won’t live in the places where they don’t have access to health care.
Latham says the cost of malpractice is hurting hospitals across Iowa — and the nation. He says 53-percent of the U-S hospitals blame this issue for not being able to recruit doctors.
Democrat challenger Selden Spencer of Huxley is a physician and says medical malpractice is an issue with doctors across the state, but patients still need to be protected. Spencer says it’s a problem that causes older doctors to stop their practices and it forces other doctors to stop doing certain procedures. He says he’s not convinced the current approaches are the most effective.
Spencer says the two-year shake-down period needs to be shortened to cut down on “ambulance chaser” doctors who just want to testify in court to make money. Both candidates were also asked what their number-one priority with health care if sent to Washington next year. Spencer says it would be working on Medicare Part D, while Latham says he’d continue trying to find ways for veterans to get the best health care possible. The debate was sponsored by KRIB News.