ANDERSON – The candidates seeking the Republican Party nomination in the 5th Congressional District are united in their opposition to universal health care.

Following a decision by incumbent Susan Brooks not to seek another term in the U.S. House, 14 of the 15 candidates seeking the party’s nomination in the June 2 primary took part in an internet forum sponsored by Indiana Town Halls.

The majority believed the free market should dictate the lowering of costs for health care and that the government doesn’t have a role in the system. Several called for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

“Medicare for all is not the answer,” said current Indiana State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell. “Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) drove prices up and people lost coverage.

“We need more patient choice and insurance companies should have to compete against each other,” she added.

Beth Henderson said she didn’t support Medicare for all. She said the cost of health insurance for small businesses increased by more than 30% under the Affordable Care Act.

Kent Abernathy contended the Affordable Care Act took away people’s right to choose their doctors, which was not a part of the legislation.

“Small businesses can’t afford group health insurance rates for their employees,” he said. “Health care should be market driven to drive down the costs.”

Abernathy called for price transparency so consumers can make better choices in obtaining health care.

Allen Davidson said health care is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.

“We should replace the Affordable Care Act and let the free market dictate the system,” he said. “Health care providers should have to publish their fee schedule.”

Davidson said there should be incentives provided to encourage more people to become doctors and nurses.

Chuck Dietzen said the nation should take advantage of the internet and encourage telehealth systems.

He said insurance risk pools should be allowed to cross state lines to lower costs for small businesses and the government should support healthy lifestyles to reduce the need for health care.

Victoria Spartz said consumers need more choices and there should be greater competition among health insurance providers to lower costs.

“We need to get government out of health care,” she said.

Russell Stwalley said employers should not be providing health insurance coverage for their workers.

“Employees should be paid a higher wage so they can shop for the best coverage in the open market,” he said.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.

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