State treasurer Josh Mandel, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, discusses his 10-point healthcare reform plan with Sylvania Township podiatrist Dr. Bruce Saferin.
The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, on Monday issued a 10-point plan for health-care reform, beginning with repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Mr. Mandel, who is challenging Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, held a news conference at a Sylvania Township surgical office with podiatrist Dr. Bruce Saferin.
The plan, labeled “Healthcare: Quality, Access & Affordability,” advocates a series of steps using tax benefits, transparency, tort reform, health savings accounts, and other measures to replace the law passed in 2010, commonly known as Obamacare.
Enacted by Democratic majorities in the Senate and House and with the support of President Obama, the Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to obtain health insurance and it provides subsidies and state exchanges to make it easier for people to afford health coverage. The plan, most of which kicks in in 2014, is designed to add 30 million people to insurance coverage. It bars insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
Republicans opposed the law, saying it will drive up the cost of health care, restrict Americans' choices, and require tax increases.
"It’s very possible I’ll be the 51st vote," Mr. Mandel said, referring to hopes among Republicans of ending Democratic control of the Senate. “I’m hopeful we can actually repeal it.”
He said he thinks he’s going a step further than most other Republican politicians who just say they want to repeal the law by putting up a list of alternatives he would try to implement.
Dr. Saferin said he voted for Mr. Brown in 2006 when he was running for his first term, but won't vote for him again because he cast “the deciding vote” for the health care law, which, he said, is “detrimental to the citizens and to my patients.”
Mr. Brown has been referred to as “the deciding vote” because the bill passed the Senate in December, 2009, with the minimum 60 votes.
The fact-checking organization PolitiFact has labeled the claim false because every vote was equally necessary to the bill’s passage and Senator Brown did not have to be wooed for his support.
Mr. Mandel says his plan would restore the $716 billion that would be cut out of Medicare spending over 10 years under the Affordable Care Act.
The plan would transfer Medicaid to the states as a block grant, exempt money spent on personal insurance from taxes, make transparent the costs of health-care services, cap damages in lawsuits involving unintentional malpractice, encourage association pooling and health savings accounts, encourage more physician-owned practices, and allow interstate insurance competition.
Brown spokesman Justin Barasky said, “Josh Mandel’s health-care plan allows insurance companies to discriminate against you if you have a pre-existing condition, kick you off your plan when you get sick, and significantly weakens Medicare benefits, while protecting giant giveaways to the insurance companies.”
He said the plan reflects a lack of concern about middle-class people on Mr. Mandel’s part. “Instead of attempting to deny Ohioans affordable and accessible health insurance, Josh Mandel should apologize to the 850,000 Ohio workers whose jobs would have been in jeopardy if we hadn’t passed the auto rescue that he called un-American,” Mr. Barasky said.
A new poll by The Blade and the Ohio News Organization shows Senator Brown leading Mr. Mandel 51-47 percent, with a 3.1-percentage-point margin of error. Mr. Mandel said his campaign’s own polling shows him winning 45-43 percent.
”What binds our supporters together is they want to change Washington. They’re fed up with the hyperpartisanship, the bickering, and the gridlock there.”