A few weeks ago, Progress Illinois drew attention to 11th District GOP congressional candidate Marty Ozinga's misguided view
that there are "very few people nowadays that have no health service at
all." Ozinga's callous assessment of the U.S. health care crisis ...
A few weeks ago, Progress Illinois drew attention to 11th District GOP congressional candidate Marty Ozinga's misguided view that there are "very few people nowadays that have no health service at all." Ozinga's callous assessment of the U.S. health care crisis was based on the idea that anyone who can drag themselves to the emergency room will get some type of care.
Criticism of the remark included a pointed column from the Southtown Star's Kristen McQueary, who asked how Ozinga's apparent disregard for the uninsured jived with his self-declared Christian values. In a Star article published today, Ozinga's Democratic opponent, State Senator Debbie Halvorson, responded directly to the remark as well: "When I heard that, I was appalled. ... It proves how out of touch he is."
As detailed in the article, Halvorson grew up uninsured and watched her own mother suffer the indignities faced by Americans who can't afford health coverage. She recently highlighted her health care credentials before the Illinois Nurses Association in Kankakee:
According to her campaign, while in the state Senate, Halvorson worked to provide health insurance to uninsured children and veterans, create a first-in-the-nation program to provide affordable prescription drugs to seniors and the disabled, and require insurance companies to cover preventive care screenings like mammograms.
At the event in Kankakee, Halvorson laid out proposals to help reduce costs and improve health care including: allowing small businesses to bargain collectively to reduce health insurance premiums; expanding funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program [SCHIP]; increasing funding for preventive care and screenings; ensuring that mental health ailments have the same coverage as physical ailments; and allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for prescription drugs.
Among the issues named by Halvorson, SCHIP is one that voters will want to look at closely in the run up to the election. On his website, Ozinga comes out forcefully against government involvement in providing health insurance. But state health care programs tend to be popular with voters, especially when that coverage is going to uninsured kids.