Congressional candidates discuss health care, budget

Darin Moriki
Posted 10/18/12

As the race for the 6th U.S. Congressional district heats up, the four candidates vying for the single seat took a moment to weigh in on their …

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Congressional candidates discuss health care, budget


As the race for the 6th U.S. Congressional district heats up, the four candidates vying for the single seat took a moment to weigh in on their differing, yet equally diverse solutions to tackle two of the nation’s most pressing issues: looming budget cuts and healthcare reform.

Republican incumbent Mike Coffman said he is concerned by the way the nation’s projected $1.2 trillion in sequestered cuts will affect the Department of Defense, expected to see nearly $500 billion in evenly distributed cuts over the next nine years.

“I believe that the cuts are possible, without compromising national security, if we focus on trimming the top-heavy nature of the Pentagon bureaucracy, closing overseas military bases that are no longer needed, and seeing what functions currently being performed by active duty personnel could be more cost effectively done in the National Guard and Reserve,” Coffman said.

His Democratic challenger Joe Miklosi, meanwhile, said the projected cuts ”would negatively impact Colorado’s strong defense contract industry,” and suggested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff be involved in the budget cutting process.

“We need a strategy that creates stability abroad without bankrupting us here at home,” Miklosi said. ”We should invest in development and diplomacy, align defense spending to match threats, recognize that new threats don’t always align with traditional defense spending, and cut outdated defense programs without compromising our security.”

Libertarian candidate Patrick Provost said defense spending is a large, yet part of the federal government’s budget, but said cuts to the department should not just be limited to cutting labor and benefits.

“I know from personal experience that there is fraud, waste and abuse within the department,” Provost said. “We must take an honest look at these failing programs to see how we can fix them.”

Independent candidate Kathy Polhemus said legislators should take another look at the Simpson-Bowles plan, a bi-partisan supported deficit reduction plan, focusing on healthcare, defense spending, income tax law, Social Security and the national debt’s compound interest.

The four candidates are also sharply divided on their support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare, commonly known as Obamacare.

Miklosi said Obamacare is important, because it eliminates discrimination against pre-existing conditions, allows young people to stay on their parents’ health plan until age 26, fills the “donut hole” for seniors, and protects women’s health freedoms.

But, he said, small business owners must be given more incentives to provide their employees with health care.

Coffman disagreed, saying that Obamacare would actually hurt seniors by phasing out Medicare Advantage and reducing reimbursements to doctors and hospitals.

“All of this means senior citizens will have fewer options when it comes to their health care, including who their doctor will be,” Coffman said.

Polhemus said legislators should take another look at Obamacare and consider the fact that nearly one-third of a person’s Medicare benefits are used during their last year alive.

Provost said he does not support Obamacare, because it, like any other government program and department, would be “caught up in red tape and bureaucracy” and “hurt those who are in genuine need of care.”

“The federal government is not designed to be efficient or to be a deliverer of services,” Provost said. “They are designed to be a regulatory committee that is supposed to protect its people from threats of all sorts both from within the nation and from without. We must return to that ideal and stop meddling in the lives of the individual citizen.”


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