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Legal Daily News Feature

Reid v. Angle, Part 3 By Joshua Nave Today we continue with our look at the debate between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his challenger, Sharron Angle. Yesterday’s questions focused on immigration. Today we’ll look at the candidates’ responses to the health care debate.

10/21/10

care reform bill. He skipped the first step, and the moderator called him on it.

According to the Medicare’s actuary, the health care reform bill will actually increase costs including the addition of $100 million a year to Nevada’s Medicaid budget. In light of the expensive mandates on small business and the intense voter backlash, why didn’t you and President Obama focus on jobs and the foreclosure crisis first, knowing how Nevada has suffered more than any other state? Reid: For a long time in this country, insurance companies have dominated the health care delivery system. You pay your premiums, you get sick or hurt, they walk away from you. We passed health insurance reform because we had no choice. I don’t know where you got the question, but the facts are all wrong. We, according to the Congressional Budget Office, independent, have been told that we will reduce the debt by $1.3 trillion. We allow people who are, who have children with preexisting conditions like diabetes, to no longer be denied insurance by those folks. It is something that we had to do including extend the life of Medicare for 12 years, fill the doughnut hole. The facts that you gave Mitch are simply wrong. We had to do health insurance reform to maintain competitive in the world economy, and it creates jobs, thousands and thousands of jobs. Good answer, but wrong question. The moderator wanted to know why health care reform was given greater priority than the foreclosure crisis. Reid should have rejected the premise, touted the steps taken by the government to address the economic crisis, and then pivoted to his support of the health

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Okay Senator Reid, I’m gonna ask you that again - why didn’t you and President Obama focus on jobs and the foreclosure crisis first, knowing how Nevada has suffered more than any other state? Reid: We did focus on foreclosure first, one of the first bills we passed in this Congress was mortgage fraud. We moved into that very quickly, to prevent these people who are taking advantage of folks who are in trouble with their homes. And that, we’ve had indictments here in Nevada and all around the country as a result of doing that. And remember what I said earlier. Health insurance reform creates jobs. I was at MedCo today, they just, they’re bringing on 500 new people, because we now have 2,000 pharmacists there, as a result of what the health care reform bill did they’re going to be bringing more people there. Although finally on point, this was one of Reid’s worst answers of the night. Preventing foreclosure related fraud is important but there are thousands of Nevadans losing their homes who are not victims of fraud. Angle: Obamacare cut a half a trillion dollars out of Medicare right at the point where Social, senior citizens need to have that Medicare advantage. That’s where their choices are. It also cost us half a trillion dollars in new taxes. The solutions to the health care insurance cost problem are simple, and they reside within the free market. We need to get the government out so we can go across state lines to choose insurance companies. We need to get the government out of

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the process so we can take off those mandated coverages. We need to get the government out so we can have tort reform and so we can expand the pools. The solutions to the health care cost of insurance - are free market. Sharron Angle probably welcomed Reid’s failure to adequately address the question - why didn’t Congress focus first on the foreclosure crisis - because it allowed her to skip it as well. As a free market conservative, Angle has routinely supported less regulation on the mortgage industry, less regulation on the banking industry, and less regulation of Wall Street. Like her position on health care, Angle believes that the free market is doing what it is supposed to be doing to the housing market and that the government shouldn’t intervene. Reid: [soft chuckle] The facts are wrong. I read to the Medicare - I mean, the medical people today, here today, the fact that - a letter form Secretary Sebelius. Medicare Advantage people in the state of Nevada are going to pay less rather than more. There will be more Medicare Advantage people on the rolls now, as a result of the health care being passed. My opponent doesn’t like any insurance companies to have to do anything. She’s against mammograms, colonoscopies, and as we’ve heard lately, insurance companies covering kids that have autism. That’s really extreme. Reid plays the ‘’extreme’’ card, something he will continue to do throughout the debate. It’s also a distortion of Angle’s position, as we’ll see soon. Angle isn’t opposed to insurance companies covering those procedures; she’s opposed to government regulations that would require them to do so. Okay. Ah, we’ll go to the next question, it’s still on health care reform, and actually, Senator Reid kind of paraphrased my question but I’ll rephrase it. You’ve said on various occasions, and in fact voted in the state assembly, to do away with mandated coverage of mammograms and colon cancer tests. You’ve come out in favor of eliminating coverage for autism and maternity leave. Is there anything you think the insurance companies should be forced to cover? Angle: America is a country of choices, not forcing people to buy

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things that they don’t need. What we want is a basic policy where we can add the coverages that we need. I taught autistic children. I know that this is a real, biomedical disorder and it needs to have its own insurance code so that families can get the right treatment and also be covered. But the insurance mandate that we passed in this state only cares for 25 percent of the one out of every 110 children that have autism. We need to stop making Band-Aid applications and look at real solutions when we talk about health care, and really, forcing someone to buy something that they don’t need is not the way to solve a problem. This really gets to the heart of her thinking. In Angle’s world view, unfettered capitalism is the best solution for everything. I’m uncomfortable with any doctrine that treats all situations the same, and this is no exception. In retail and manufacturing industries, the profit motive leads companies to make the best possible goods at the lowest possible costs to generate the highest possible profits. Everybody wins. But that doesn’t mean that the same logic applies to the insurance industry, where screening out people with preexisting conditions and denying claims leads to higher profit margins. Industrialists and retailers profit by giving people what they want, insurance companies profit by paying out as little as possible. Okay let me rephrase that question again - is there anything, at all, that you think the insurance companies should be mandated to cover. Anything? Angle: I think that what we have here is a choice between the free market and Americanism. American is about choices. And we need to allow people to have those choices. The free market will weed out those companies that don’t offer as many choices and don’t have a cost-effective system. Let the people decide where they want to buy their insurance - you don’t have to force them to buy anything and you don’t have to force anyone to offer a product that no one wants. There are two problems with this answer, setting aside the obvious free market vs Americanism gaffe. The first is that people do want mammograms and screening for colon cancer, but insurance companies don’t want to pay for it. The second problem is that health care isn’t like buying the optional tow package on your new car - most health care costs are unanticipated needs.

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Okay, so no insurance mandates. Okay. Senator Reid? Reid: Mitch, insurance companies. Insurance companies don’t do things out of the goodness of their hearts, they do it out of a profit motive and they have almost destroyed our economy. Twenty percent of all costs, prior to our passing our health insurance reform, was because of health care costs. If we didn’t do something to change it, it would go up by, in less than 15 years, to 36 cents of every dollar. It would break us. We need them to be forced to do mammograms. That’s why you see breast cancer awareness month, you see the baseball players wearing pink shoes and you see the football players having pink helmets. It’s because people dread breast cancer and you don’t get breast cancer, you correct breast cancer, you detect it, if you do mammograms. Colonoscopies - if you do colonoscopies, colon cancer does not come cause you snip off the things they find when they go up and - no more. And we need to have the insurance companies do this, it’ll save money in the long run to do this.

of our economy that is devoted to health care due to rising costs. His pink shoe safari in the second paragraph fails to connect the dots between a public desire for coverage of mammograms and the unwillingness of unregulated insurance companies to provide them, despite the free market approach that has been used in the past. Thank you. Mrs. Angle, thirty seconds. Angle: Well pink ribbons are not going to make people have a better insurance plan. What makes people have better insurance plans is competition. And that’s what I’ve been saying all along is that we need more competition so that they will cover the things that we need them to cover, because that’s the things that we want to buy. That’s how the free market works, that’s why our solutions reside in the free market and when we talk about what has destroyed this economy, Obamacare is destroying our economy, I know a company that has laid off five people because of Obamacare. Check back tomorrow for more of the Reid - Angle debate, when we get into economic issues.

Vintage Harry Reid awkwardness. What Reid is attempting to get at in the first paragraph is the rapidly growing percentage

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Reid v. Angle, Part 3  

Today we continue with our look at the debate between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his challenger, Sharron Angle. Yesterday's quest...

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