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TIPTON - If he was to write a prescription for health care, Republican 2nd District U.S. House hopeful Chris Peters would approach it the same way as performing surgery: Start with an accurate diagnosis.
Peters, a Coralville surgeon who is challenging Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack, believes the fundamental problem with the health care system, which predates the Affordable Care Act, is that Americans spend too much for each health care service.
'For a doctor visit, a hospital stay, a prescription getting filled, we spend more than in any other country, by far,” Peters said at a campaign stop Thursday afternoon in Tipton. Switzerland comes closest, but spends about 70 percent of what health care consumers in the United States spend.
'Until you address that health care costs too much, nothing else gets fixed,” he said. The federal government response has been to shift the cost of coverage to other people - other taxpayers - without addressing the root cause of those high prices,' he said.
Peters isn't interested in continuing to shift the costs. The options he sees are either a top-down approach with the federal government setting prices for procedures, 'which is not an option I favor,” he said, or allow the market to set prices - with a safety net for those who need assistance.
As Congress looks to reform health care, Peters suggested looking at market-based systems in Singapore and Switzerland. In a nutshell, insurance covers 'unpredictable” health care needs. Consumers fund health savings accounts to cover their routine costs. If people can't afford to buy insurance or fund their HSA, the government contributes toward it, Peters said.
In addition to less expensive health care, Peters wants to see it become better, 'and I would like everyone to have equal access to services.”
'I think that's achievable. I think a market-based solution is definitely doable,” he said. 'We've just got to have the political will to do it.”
Loebsack, who is seeking his seventh two-year term in the U.S. House, recently reaffirmed his support for the ACA - Obamacare.
'There is no doubt that we must continue to improve the ACA,” he said, Loebsack rejected House GOP proposals as 'mean and heartless.”
Peters challenged Loebsack in 2016, but said he's starting much earlier this time to 'expand the ground we broke last time.” He's trying to meet more voters and raise more resources.
Loebsack garnered 53.7 percent of the vote to Peters' 46.2 percent in that election.
'People remain upset with the status quo,” Peters said. 'There's a hunger out there for pragmatic solutions - what most people see as common sense.”
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