Three of the candidates running for congress in Iowa’s second district say it’s time to focus on the costs in America’s health care system. Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Iowa City who is seeking a seventh term in the U.S. House, says there are improvements to be made to the Affordable Care Act.

“I think, for example, that we ought to give states more ability to work their own plans,” Loebsack says, “but not as far as what we’ve seen here in Iowa because the plans that are going to be offered by the Farm Bureau are going to be the kind of plans that will basically let folks with pre-existing conditions to be priced out of the health insurance market and that’s not acceptable.”

Christopher Peters of Coralville is the Republican who challenged Loebsack in 2016 and he’s the GOP nominee again this year. Peters says, as a physician, he’s better equipped to help craft solutions for the nation’s health care system.

“Congress focuses way too much on coverage, extending coverage through plans like the Affordable Care Act — but costs are what are spiralling out of control and unless we do something about cost, coverage issues are going to continue to be a problem,” Peters says. “…The one thing I’m certain of is that health care will come up again in congress, probably this next year.”

Mark Strauss of Bettendorf is the Libertarian Party’s candidate in the second congressional district. Strauss says his firm once installed a $20,000 “water wall” for a new hospital.

“Who puts a water wall in a hospital? That’s just a place to breed germs and it doesn’t cure anybody. You know, $15,000 decorative wall sconces? We’ve got to stop having hotels for people to go to and start having hospitals,” Strauss says. “When I was a kid, you went to a place that had hard tile floors that could be bleached and sterilized. Same thing with the walls. Now you’ve got carpets and wallpaper.”

The three candidates made their comments Monday at a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Johnson County and the Task Force on Aging.