‘Obamacare’ divides Ohio Senate candidates

Daniel Moore

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Health care options for students will expand dramatically under President Obama’s monumental health care plan, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown says — and Republican challenger Josh Mandel doesn’t necessarily disagree.

“I do think that is one of the good components,” Mandel said of the stipulation that allows young adults to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26. “While 26-year-olds are not kids, they’re young adults, and I think there’s wisdom in allowing them a little more time to stay on their parents’ insurance if we could find a good way to pay for it.”

The sweeping health reform, passed along party lines two years ago and upheld by the Supreme Court in June, is the target of criticism for Republicans and praise from Democrats. Brown said he proudly voted for the bill because it ensures free checkups and hundreds of dollars in prescription drug savings for Ohio seniors.

“I know a lot of families who have a diabetic or asthmatic child,” Brown said during the Oct. 18 debate in Columbus. “Because of the strong consumer protections in this bill, they can’t lose their insurance.”

Real Clear Politics polls

Poll Date Sample Brown (D) Mandel (R) Spread
RCP Average 10/17 – 10/23 47.4 42.2 Brown +5.2
Rasmussen Reports 10/23 – 10/23 750 LV 48 44 Brown +4
SurveyUSA 10/20 – 10/22 609 LV 43 42 Brown +1
Suffolk* 10/18 – 10/21 600 LV 46 39 Brown +7
PPP (D) 10/18 – 10/20 532 LV 49 44 Brown +5
CBS News/Quinnipiac 10/17 – 10/20 1548 LV 51 42 Brown +9

Mandel would repeal the law, also known as Obamacare, and instead focus on lowering costs through tort reform, eliminating “junk lawsuits” he said have become an “industry” in America.

“They’re killing jobs and making health care more expensive,” Mandel said, and the majority of Americans agree. Three out of every four Americans believe frivolous lawsuits are driving up health care costs, according to an Oct. 6 Rasmussen poll.

Mandel said the markets — not the government — should be expanded, allowing for a purchase of health insurance across state lines. He would also “empower” citizens and small businesses the access to health savings accounts that 10 million people already have.

“I believe the American people are smart — a lot smarter than bureaucracy,” Mandel said. “When you allow citizens to vote with their feet and make decisions based on what’s best for themselves and their families, I believe costs will go down, and health care and quality and access will go up.”

But Brown claims small businesses will actually receive better rates under Obama’s law “because they’ll have a larger pool to share their resources with.”

He said the bill allows students to get insurance “at a reasonable price.”

“They’ll be some preventative care — which I know young people especially are interested in — and everything from nutrition to exercise to all the things to keep people healthy at any age,” Brown said. “There are incentives built into the bill for that. It’s gonna make for a healthier country.”

“The more emphasis on prevention and the more emphasis on everybody being in the insurance pool, the better it spreads those costs, and people will have disposable income when they’re 30 for things other than health care.”

Less than two weeks before the Nov. 6 election — and with all three debates scheduled — recent polls from Oct. 17-23 show Brown leading Mandel by an average of more than 5 percent, according to Real Clear Politics.

Contact Daniel Moore at [email protected].