Congress candidates Goyle and Pompeo duel over health care at Chamber debate

GoylePompeoCongressional candidates Raj Goyle and Mike Pompeo clashed over health care at a debate this afternoon.

Goyle, a Democratic state representative from Wichita, argued for keeping some parts of the national health-care law passed earlier this year that he says help families and seniors, but supported repealing a tax provision he sees as onerous for businesses.

Pompeo, a Republican national commiteeman and oilfield services executive, said he wants to repeal the entire law and start over.

The two squared off at a luncheon of the Wichita Metro Area Chamber of Commerce at the Airport Hilton Hotel.

The debate was substantially less raucous than last week’s matchup at Wichita State University. The chamber crowd, mostly local businesspeople, honored the moderator’s request to hold any applause until the end of the debate.

Goyle said the process leading to the health bill “exemplifies the worst of Washington right now.”

He said majority Democrats took an approach that was “my way or the highway,” with too many “backroom deals” and not enough transparency.

Republicans, he said, practiced “rank obstructionism” to score political points rather than dealing with a crisis affecting everyone.

“My view looking forward is simple, repeal the parts of the bill that do not work for Kansans … but keep the parts that do work for Kansans that provide good increased access and lower costs for Kansas patients and providers,” he said.

Pompeo laid the bill squarely at the feet of congressional Democrats and President Obama, and said Goyle was off-base criticizing Republicans for the rancorous process leading to passage.

“The Democrats had plenty of votes to pass that legislation,” he said, adding that “it was put forth by a president who he (Goyle) stumped all over the country to get elected.”

Goyle said he wants to preserve provisions prohibiting insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, closing the “donut hole” in Medicare prescription benefits and allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance to age 26.

He said he wants to repeal the so-called “1099 provision” in the law, which requires small businesses to report when they pay more than $600 to purchase goods or services from a vendor. That provision was placed in the law in an effort to ensure businesses pay the full amount of taxes they owe, which is expected to generate about $19 billion over 10 years to help pay for health care.

Pompeo advocated for complete repeal of the national health care law.

“I think the health-care law that was passed back in March was a disaster for America, 2,000 pages of disaster,” Pompeo said. “Certainly for folks who are thinking about ‘Where am I going to hire my next employee?’ we went the wrong direction. We moved our country closer to the direction of nationalizing our health care system.”

He projected that one in four Kansans will eventually be covered by Medicaid and “break the bank.”

In the debate, Pompeo did not address the provisions Goyle supports or propose any specific replacement for the health-care bill.

Afterwards, he said he supports repealing it in its entirety and starting over with a focus on cost-cutting.