Congressional candidates weigh in on health care ruling
By ABDON M. PALLASCH Political Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org June 28, 2012 6:46PM
Tammy Duckworth, candidate for the Democratic nomination for the Eighth Congressional District. (Courtesy Tammy Duckworth)
Updated: July 30, 2012 6:28AM
While Gov. Pat Quinn cheered Thursday’s Supreme Court health care ruling, the applause from Democratic candidates in the Chicago suburbs’ hotly contested congressional elections was markedly more subdued.
“I think it’s good we finally have a decision — I’d like to see the good parts implemented and fix the bad parts,” said Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat running in the northwest suburbs.
What are the bad parts?
“When I talk to business owners in the district, especially the guys who have high number of employees and low profit margins like restaurants, they’re really concerned it would put a real burden on them they will not be able to sustain,” Duckworth said.
That doesn’t sound too different than the argument her Republican opponent, Joe Walsh, makes:
“I’ve talked to a number of employers in my district who will let people go just so they can get below 50 employers,” the Tea Party favorite said. “I talked to a landscaper with 52 employees. He will let 3 people go. Repeal the whole thing and replace it with a number of reforms Democrats and Republicans support like tort reform, health savings accounts, letting people buy insurance across state lines.”
Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) is a co-sponsor of a bill House Republicans have scheduled to vote on July 11 to repeal Obama’s health care law — a largely symbolic move since the Democratic-led senate will not take up the bill.
While Biggert and Walsh will vote for it and three suburban Democratic candidates — Duckworth, Bill Foster and Brad Schneider — say they would oppose it, Schneider’s opponent in the North Shore 10th District, freshman Republican Bob Dold, twice declined Thursday to say how he would vote.
“As a small business owner, I’ve seen health care costs for my employees go up 44 percent in a given year,” Dold said. “This act does not really address cost or quality.”
Dold represents the most Democratic district held by a Republican in the country. But Schneider was not as enthusiastic at the ruling as Quinn,
“We have to make sure entrepreneurs, sole practitioners, have the same ability to buy insurance that large companies do,” Schneider said, noting that he too was a small business owner.
And in the Western suburbs, Bill Foster noted that he too was a small business owner.
“I did not take the decision to support it lightly,” Foster said. “I had hundreds of conversations with doctors, nurses, health care providers, small business owners.”
Biggert said her talks with people in the district yielded a different verdict for her.
“We’ve had a lot of calls against this,” Biggert said. “Everyone agrees we need health care reform but most people agree this law is not it.”