U.S. Senate candidates address Affordable Care Act

From the WisPolitics.com website on Tuesday, Sept. 25 – reprinted with permission
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin defended her support of the Affordable Care Act in a speech to the Wisconsin Counties Association Monday and criticized opponent Tommy Thompson for his plans to repeal the law.
Thompson, meanwhile, struck back at Baldwin’s attacks, saying he was a proven reformer who has stayed true to Wisconsin and that Baldwin would simply pay lip service to reforming Washington, D.C. The two gave separate speeches at the second day of the convention in La Crosse.
Baldwin noted that she not only voted for the health care law but offered the amendment in committee to allow children to stay on their parent’s health care until they’re 26. She then hammered Thompson for wanting to “rip up” the decision of the Supreme Court and repeal the law.
“I think the last thing that the middle class needs, that families in Wisconsin want, are more partisan political fights in Washington, and they need somebody who’s going to fight for them,” she said. “Now is the time to protect the gains we’ve made for the people of Wisconsin and work together to move forward.”
Echoing a theme from her 1998 congressional campaign, Baldwin also noted her personal connection to health care, saying that her grandparents were forced to pay out of pocket for her hospitalization as a child and were unable to find insurance for her after that because she had a pre-existing condition.
“I believe that no family — no grandparents, no moms and dads — should have to go through that sort of financial or emotional strain or worry,” Baldwin said. “It’s wrong. If we want to have a strong economy and healthy and productive workers, we must ensure like every other industrialized country in the world, that health care is affordable and accessible to everybody.”
Thompson said he was surprised listening to the “five million dollars worth of things saying I’m no longer from Wisconsin.”
The former Republican governor then reviewed his career for the audience, referencing his work on welfare reform, tax cuts and Medicare Part D, noting afterward that Baldwin voted against each initiative during her time in the state Legislature and Congress.
“You want someone that’s a reformer and has done it or someone that is a taxer and says they will do it?” Thompson asked the audience.
Thompson said he would attempt to balance the federal budget and give federal agencies an opportunity to reorganize and remove defunct programs.
He decried the lack of a federal budget and level of spending from Washington, D.C., and said most counties would “vote you out of office” for such actions.
“That is malfeasance in office, ladies and gentlemen,” Thompson said. “And that scares me.”
When it came to health care, Thompson said he wants to push new ideas and individual choice when it comes to choosing health care, before noting his role in the creation of BadgerCare and SeniorCare.
“BadgerCare and SeniorCare, those were my ideas,” Thompson said. “And they’re the best in the country. I can do the same things at the federal level — innovation.”
Baldwin and Thompson were set to meet in their first debate on Friday in Milwaukee, Sept. 28.
Next week the views of Thompson and Baldwin on a number of issues.