The candidates for the Fourth District congressional seat in the U.S. House discuss the issues during a debate on a Mason City radio station Tuesday.

Healthcare was one of the major points that incumbent Republican Tom Latham of Ames and Democrat challenger Bill Maske of Truro disagreed on. Latham says the healthcare bill supported by the Obama administration doesn’t make sense for Americans.

“There are things we all agree on, both sides of the aisle, such as preexisting conditions to make sure people have access to health care, people with catastrophic losses to make sure that they are not wiped out and their family,” Latham says, “but what we’ve got to do is to bring some sense to this thing, this bill…that my opponent supports cuts $529-billion out of Medicare…to fund a new separate entitlement.”

Latham says the bill was rushed through quickly with a lot of unnecessary backdoor deals. He says both sides of the aisle agreed the bill was a disaster until Scott Brown was elected to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, Democrats were forced to pass legislation that was their only options without amendments. Latham says it is horrible for Americans.

Latham says the health care legislation already is taking its toll on Iowa companies. Latham says Principal Financial for example has cut out their health insurance business due to the health care bill and he says that has cut 650 jobs and will “absolutely gonna destroy quality and access to health care right here in north-central Iowa.”

Maske says the Obama healthcare bill rights a wrong that the insurance industry was creating for the United States. He says people need to have health insurance, as he says millions of people in the country did not have insurance and government needed to reign in the healthcare industry. Maske says the process the healthcare reform bill wasn’t the best, but the result was what was needed.

Maske says all of the fighting over the reform bill was not healthy for the government, and he says “the Republicans and their health insurance were in the midst of causing that environment.” He says the bill was the best Congress could do as it did help to end insurance company abuses and did extend health care for millions of Americans. Maske says if anything needs to be altered in the current bill, it need to be the availability of a public option.

Maske says if we want to truly drive down health care costs, there needs to be a public option that creates a competitive environment. The two made their comments during the debate on AM-1300 KGLO.

You can hear the entire debate here:

By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City