HIAWATHA — For Sen. Rand Paul, the midterm election boils down to this: “We really think that if Joni wins, we win the Senate.”
And if his party is in control, the Kentucky Republican believes the Senate will join the GOP-controlled House in voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“I don't have a lot of high hopes the president will be in favor of repealing it,” Paul said after meeting with local business people in Hiawatha. “But I think at the very least, Obamacare needs to be made less bad.”
Paul, who is considering a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, was in Iowa Wednesday stumping for state Sen. Joni Ernst as well as GOP 1st District candidate Rod Blum.
In doing so, he called for changes in tax policy to stimulate the economy and job creation, break congressional deadlock and, of course, fix health care reform.
Among the fixes the physician prescribes is expanding the use of health savings accounts — “an enhancement of freedom of choice.”
“Right now, the biggest thing Americans dislike about Obamacare is that they said you could keep your doctor, but you can't,” he said. “They said you would have the choice of keeping your doctor or buying what insurance you want, but you really don't.”
At Mobile Demand, Paul spent about 30 minutes discussing changes in the tax code that he said not only would stimulate business, but help reduce unemployment and poverty.
The biggest problems facing business in the global marketplace, Paul said, are taxes, regulations and labor costs.
“We can't change labor costs, but we can change taxes and regulations, but we're not competing on either of them,” Paul said.
His answer is to lower corporate tax rates to be competitive with the rest of the world.
When it was pointed out that wouldn't help the Subchapter S companies represented in the room, Paul said that ideally Congress would move to a flat tax that would be the same for corporations and individuals. His plan would include a family exemption of about $50,000 and preserve the home mortgage and charitable giving deductions.
Later, Paul campaigned with Ernst in Iowa City where a former chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party, Sue Dvorsky of Coralville, and University of Iowa students spoke out against the Republicans' support for a proposed personhood amendment.
They warned the constitutional amendment Ernst co-sponsored in the Iowa Senate would ban common forms of birth control for Iowa women, outlaw all abortion even in cases of rape or incest, while doctors would face criminal punishment for performing medical procedures for their patients. Paul has backed a federal personhood amendment that Democrats say would have similar consequences.
Paul rejected the criticism.
“I think most people are confused about it,” her said when he learned of the planned protest at UI. “If they are talking about birth control, I'm not opposed to birth control or in vitro fertilization.”
Ernst has a similar position.
“I will always protect a woman's access to reliable and affordable birth control,' she said in a debate with her opponent, Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley.
Paul said the Democratic protesters' argument is typical of political debate.
“This is the way politics works: You take someone's position, you distort it, you make it extreme and then you pick something that's not true and run against that,” Paul said.
He doesn't think their argument will win a lot of support because “a lot of people in Iowa think there is something special about life, they believe in God, they think we shouldn't flippantly not have respect for life.”