Let’s Talk About Health – 2017 CD-3 Debate Summary

On Friday October 13th it wasn’t all black cats and Camp Crystal Lake — for the voters of Congressional District Three it consisted of a lot of debate (the subject of my nightmares). The ABU Education Fund and the John R. Park Debate Society pulled off yet another excellent public debate, facilitating a conversation between the top-four polling candidates to replace that other “Jason” — former Congressman Jason Chaffetz.

The event was a huge success from an organizational standpoint. It was an even bigger success when viewed as an opportunity for constituents to learn a thing or two about those wishing to represent them.

Throughout the debate, the candidates presented their opinions on a multitude of subjects. From immigration and DACA reform, to education, gun control, criminal justice reform, public lands, and everyone’s favorite: healthcare.

Now, let’s be clear, all of the questions the candidates were asked have significant importance and should be looked to directly before casting a ballot. With that said, healthcare is a huge topic of controversy in our political system today and the inability for politicians to decide on real and effective reform is affecting people in the meantime.

Now just in case your Friday the 13th was in fact full of superstitions and hacksaw murders, let’s talk about health. Below are the summarized responses of each of the four featured candidates on the topic of healthcare reform:

Joe Buchman (Lib): Buchman explained his belief that free market health care is the best option and that because the federal government does not have “care” left to give, there must be change. He emphasized his libertarian belief that federal government involvement in healthcare is in fact the reason prices are driven up and the “care” cannot occur.

Jim Bennett (United): Bennett expressed his belief that while free markets could in fact be good, the reforms can only go so far. For example, in emergency situations families are not looking for cheap or covered, they are looking for a solution to the problem. He explains that it would be essential to introduce better healthcare policy that includes catastrophic coverage.

Kathie Allen (Dem): After spending her whole life in healthcare, Allen explains that her stance is that the free market in healthcare does not work because health is not a commodity nor a desire. Like Bennett, she explains that when emergency care is needed families are not shopping so it is about getting what everyone needs and deserves to them. Allen also mentioned the need for preventative care in her response to the question.

John Curtis (Rep): Curtis explained his belief that today is such a great time for healthcare because we are more worried about the bill than the care we are receiving. He states that the issue is a question of government involvement and introducing new great ideas so that informed choices on care can be made.

I think these responses provoke me to acknowledge something about this debate – the candidates really were not so different. Yes, they have different parties, beliefs, and ideas, but the end goal is seemingly similar. Highlighted towards the end of the debate is the idea that we all really do have the same end goal in mind: to provide for our families, to be happy, and the idea of inclusion. In the end, it is all just a matter of how that goal is achieved.

In no way am I claiming that all candidates are the same, but I do believe that this debate in particular highlighted that politics can be civil and we can make a difference in the political sphere by casting an informed ballot.

Now that you know a little bit more about the Congressional District Three candidates, go watch the full debate broadcast on Alliance for a Better Utah’s Facebook page so that you can hopefully now fill out your ballot with full confidence you are making the correct choice.

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