Health Reform and Questions for Iowa Candidates

During the Golden Age of Journalism, S.S. McClure, editor and publisher of McClure’s Magazine, who is credited with developing some of the best journalists of the 19th century, said “the vitality of democracy depends on popular knowledge of complex questions.”

Complex questions are currently before the public involving health care and, specifically the unfolding and future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, are clearly among the most complex questions our society faces.

In an effort to engender better knowledge of the many complex questions surrounding the ACA, I have shared some of my thoughts in this blog. I want to know what our 2014 Iowa candidates for legislative and executive offices at the state and federal level think of some these questions. I want to know before I donate to their respective campaigns as I, like you, have been inundated with requests for campaign contributions.

To guide my decision process when making campaign contributions, I plan to submit two questions to each candidate who solicits a contribution, presume the candidate will respond to my questions, and then present the responses in my blog. I have already submitted my questions to one candidate who promised to reply and allow the reply to be published in this blog.  I will review the answers the candidates submit, publish them in my August blog, and then, on August 15, I will write a check for $1,000 to the candidate, or smaller amounts totaling $1,000 to various candidates, who provide the best, most specific answers to my two questions. My purpose in asking these questions to candidates is to add knowledge to the complex questions of our time. Additionally, I will recommend to my international audience of blog readers, the wisdom, knowledge, and foresight of the chosen candidate or candidates, based on the candidate’s answers.

This forum—and the promised contribution—are available to candidates of both major parties running for US Congress, the Iowa Governorship, and the Iowa Legislature.

The questions:

1. Should Iowa have a state-based health insurance exchange? If yes, why and how would this state-based exchange be designed and implemented? If your answer is no, please explain why?

2. Regarding health coverage for Iowans, is it possible to eliminate pre-existing condition discrimination without either an individual mandate (with or without a complimentary employer mandate) or a single payer health care system?  If it is possible, how would your proposed health insurance system work to eliminate pre-existing conditions?

Next month—July—I will review the past 12 months of Health Reform in Iowa. It will mark the one-year anniversary of this blog. I sincerely thank my readers and hope I have provided some insight and information that has been useful. I want my efforts here to add to the vitality of our democracy.