Congress Tom Latham and his democratic challenger are clashing over how to improve the nation’s health care system. Latham and former Iowa Department of Natural Resources director Paul Johnson squared off on the issue today during a joint appearance on Iowa Public Television. Johnson says the cost of health care has become a huge drain on the economy as both businesses and families struggle to pay ever-higher insurance premiums. Johnson says it’s time to institute a national health care system where government picks up the tab, but private-run hospitals still provide the care. Similar to what most countries have today, he says, a Medicare system “for all.” Johnson says we’d still have a private delivery system with competition and innovation, as the federal government wouldn’t have to take over that part of it. Congressman Latham says that amounts of socialized medicine, which he says has been a disaster in other countries and should not be implemented here. He says in Canada there’s “tremendous limitation of healthcare,” and pe3ople have to wait days, weeks or months for treatment. Latham says that shouldn’t happen in the US and says we have the best healthcare system in the world. Latham says republicans are working instead to lower the cost of health care by reining in medical malpractice lawsuits. He says republicans also want to let families setup tax-free health care savings accounts to cover medical expenses. Latham says incentives will be put in place for small businesses to join a pool that’ll let them afford healthcare for their workers. But Johnson says that won’t provide enough relief, and he bristles at Latham’s suggestion that his proposal is socialized medicine.Johnson scoffs at the notion of “socialized medicine,” saying it’s just what the Medicare program offers. He asks if seniors would want to “dump that and be put out into the marketplace” like everyone else has to be. Johnson says the state and federal government already pick up more than half the cost of health care in America by covering seniors, low income families and veterans. He says with better administrative efficiencies, government could cover everyone without spending much more. The discussion between the two competitors will air tonight on I-P-T-V.