State of North Dakota Archives: on Health Care


Heidi Heitkamp: No Medicare vouchers; they'd make system insolvent

Stark differences between North Dakota's U.S. Senate candidates when it comes to Medicare and the nation's health care law stood out during their second televised debate. One of the most spirited exchanges followed a question about what Medicare and Social Security proposals were most concerning to the candidates.

Heitkamp said Republicans' so-called "premium support" proposal, which would provide a voucher for beneficiaries under age 55 to shop around for health coverage, would create "real problems in making sure that that system is solvent" if only the elderly who are the sickest remain on traditional Medicare. She said her solutions for keeping Medicare solvent include negotiating prescription drug prices, reducing fraud and waste and promoting wellness.

Berg championed the proposal as giving Americans an option to choose a better policy, but he focused most of his comments on the effects of the Affordable Care Act.

Source: Fargo-Moorhead Forum on 2012 N.D. Senate debate Oct 15, 2012

Heidi Heitkamp: $716B cut from Medicare is biggest fib of 2012 campaign

Berg challenged Heitkamp's on how long it would take Medicare to go bankrupt under Obamacare and said the law would raid Medicare of $716 billion and "people are going to quit taking Medicare patients."

"It cuts money from hospitals and physicians in North Dakota. It cuts hospice. These are real cuts," Berg said.

Heitkamp called Berg's $716 billion-cut claim "the biggest fib in this whole campaign," noting Berg voted for such a cut under vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's budget plan.

Asked how they would address Obamacare, Berg said he would repeal the law, calling it "the one clear distinction in this race." He said his wife, a physician, said it would put the government between her and her patients, and he referred to recent reports that Olive Garden and Red Lobster are putting more workers on part-time status to see if it will limit costs from Obamacare. "This bill creates a cloud of uncertainty, and it's hurting our whole economy," Berg said.

Source: Fargo-Moorhead Forum on 2012 N.D. Senate debate Oct 15, 2012

Heidi Heitkamp: Retain the ObamaCare "frontier states" amendment

Heitkamp, whose husband is a family doctor, said she supports keeping ObamaCare's provision for people with preexisting conditions and retaining the "frontier states" amendment, which outgoing U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., has said would address inequities in Medicare funding to states and boost payments to North Dakota hospitals and doctors more than $650 million over 10 years. Heitkamp said there is good and bad in the act, and "there is absolutely no reason not to amend the law as it currently exists."

Berg agreed that "we need to deal with that" frontier amendment, explaining afterward that he would reintroduce the provision in the Senate if elected. Heitkamp countered afterward that Conrad and former Sen. Byron Dorgan tried for 20 years to pass the amendment.

Source: Fargo-Moorhead Forum on 2012 N.D. Senate debate Oct 15, 2012

Rick Berg: Give Americans an option to choose a better Medicare policy

Heitkamp said Republicans' so-called "premium support" proposal, which would provide a voucher for beneficiaries under age 55 to shop around for health coverage, would create "real problems in making sure that that system is solvent" if only the elderly who are the sickest remain on traditional Medicare. She said her solutions for keeping Medicare solvent include negotiating prescription drug prices, reducing fraud and waste and promoting wellness.

Berg championed the proposal as giving Americans an option to choose a better policy, but he focused most of his comments on the effects of the Affordable Care Act. He challenged Heitkamp's on how long it would take Medicare to go bankrupt under Obamacare and said the law would raid Medicare of $716 billion and "people are going to quit taking Medicare patients."

"It cuts money from hospitals and physicians in North Dakota. It cuts hospice. These are real cuts," Berg said.

Source: Fargo-Moorhead Forum on 2012 N.D. Senate debate Oct 15, 2012

Rick Berg: Repeal ObamaCare; it creates a cloud of uncertainty

Asked how they would address Obamacare, Berg said he would repeal the law, calling it "the one clear distinction in this race." He said his wife, a physician, said it would put the government between her and her patients, and he referred to recent reports that Olive Garden and Red Lobster are putting more workers on part-time status to see if it will limit costs from Obamacare. "This bill creates a cloud of uncertainty, and it's hurting our whole economy," Berg said.

Heitkamp, whose husband is a family doctor, said she supports keeping the act's provision for people with preexisting conditions and retaining the "frontier states" amendment, which outgoing U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., has said would address inequities in Medicare funding to states and boost payments to North Dakota hospitals and doctors more than $650 million over 10 years. Heitkamp said there is good and bad in the act, and "there is absolutely no reason not to amend the law as it currently exists."

Source: Fargo-Moorhead Forum on 2012 N.D. Senate debate Oct 15, 2012

Heidi Heitkamp: N.D. needs a state health care exchange, ObamaCAre or not

Heitkamp pointed out that the North Dakota Legislature had worked on creating a state health care exchange, a central piece of the federal health care law known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. "It went to the Legislature, and at the last minute it was voted down. There was no rhyme or reason to it," Heitkamp said.

During last November's special session the House voted 64-30 against the exchange. Heitkamp went on to say that North Dakota should have a health care exchange, federal law or not.

Berg said the law needs to be repealed and replaced piecemeal. He said the law's mandate to purchase insurance will hurt businesses and families. "They hit middle America hard," Berg said. He pointed to the announcement earlier in the week that Olive Garden & Red Lobster will be moving away from hiring full-time employees to keep costs down under the law. The law states that businesses with 50 or more employees can be subject to fines if full-time workers aren't covered.

Source: Bismarck Tribune on 2012 N.D. Senate debates Oct 12, 2012

Rick Berg: Replace ObamaCare piecemeal; it hurts middle America

Heitkamp pointed out that the North Dakota Legislature had worked on creating a state health care exchange, a central piece of the federal health care law known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. "It went to the Legislature, and at the last minute it was voted down. There was no rhyme or reason to it," Heitkamp said.

During last November's special session the House voted 64-30 against the exchange. Heitkamp went on to say that North Dakota should have a health care exchange, federal law or not.

Berg said the law needs to be repealed and replaced piecemeal. He said the law's mandate to purchase insurance will hurt businesses and families. "They hit middle America hard," Berg said. He pointed to the announcement earlier in the week that Olive Garden & Red Lobster will be moving away from hiring full-time employees to keep costs down under the law. The law states that businesses with 50 or more employees can be subject to fines if full-time workers aren't covered.

Source: Bismarck Tribune on 2012 N.D. Senate debates Oct 12, 2012

Heidi Heitkamp: Changes are needed to ObamaCare, but not repeal

The candidates also discussed healthcare. Berg once again stressed the need to repeal the President`s healthcare law, which he says is an expensive government takeover that cuts Medicare.

Heitkamp said changes are needed with the law when it comes to the mandate and the tax on health insurance. But that it should not be repealed. She says doing so would get rid of the frontier states amendment, which she says would be impossible to get back.

Source: KFYR-TV-5 Bismarck on 2012 N.D. Senate debates Oct 11, 2012

Rick Berg: ObamaCare is an expensive government takeover

The candidates also discussed healthcare. Berg once again stressed the need to repeal the President`s healthcare law, which he says is an expensive government takeover that cuts Medicare.

Heitkamp said changes are needed with the law when it comes to the mandate and the tax on health insurance. But that it should not be repealed. She says doing so would get rid of the frontier states amendment, which she says would be impossible to get back.

Source: KFYR-TV-5 Bismarck on 2012 N.D. Senate debates Oct 11, 2012

Heidi Heitkamp: Extremely supportive of Critical Access Hospitals

Q: Where do you stand regarding Critical Access Hospitals and the 1% federal reimbursement plan that they receive, especially for rural hospitals like some of the ones here in North Dakota?

Heitkamp: "The vast majority of North Dakota's hospitals-- 36 of the 52 certified hospitals--are Critical Access Hospitals. The facilities are the lynchpin to North Dakota's health care system. The president has proposed cutting funding for Critical Access Hospitals and that's something I think he's wrong about.

Berg: "I'm extremely supportive of it. Rural health care is key. The challenge in Washington is that they assume every city has a million people in it. Also, I worry about the president's health care bill, which implements an appointed board of officials to make recommendations about reimbursement levels. With that, we would end up going down a trail of power being taken out of the hands of our elected officials."

Source: The Jamestown Sun joint 2012 N.D. Senate Debate interviews Apr 17, 2012

Rick Berg: ObamaCare takes power away from our elected officials

Q: Where do you stand regarding Critical Access Hospitals and the 1% federal reimbursement plan that they receive, especially for rural hospitals like some of the ones here in North Dakota?

Berg: "I'm extremely supportive of it. Rural health care is key. The challenge in Washington is that they assume every city has a million people in it. Also, I worry about the president's health care bill, which implements an appointed board of officials to make recommendations about reimbursement levels. With that, we would end up going down a trail of power being taken out of the hands of our elected officials."

Heitkamp: "The vast majority of North Dakota's hospitals--36 of the 52 certified hospitals--are Critical Access Hospitals. The facilities are the lynchpin to North Dakota's health care system. The president has proposed cutting funding for Critical Access Hospitals and that's something I think he's wrong about."

Source: The Jamestown Sun joint 2012 N.D. Senate Debate interviews Apr 17, 2012

Heidi Heitkamp: 2010: enthusiastic support for ObamaCare; less so now

But Heitkamp's remarks offer a stark contrast to her rousing support for health care reform two years ago. The problem for Heitkamp is that the criticism appears to be new. There isn't evidence she raised concerns about the health care law until she was a candidate for Senate.

Her campaign offered little response to the charges, except to say that "(health care reform has) come up when she's been around the state," adding that Heitkamp has been focused on discussing energy issues. On health care, Dunlap, Hinck and Dill each said they believe the 2010 federal health care reform law should be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Pollard, however, said he believes the requirement that individual buy health insurance is unconstitutional. "It's an extremely large assumption of power by the federal government," he said.

Source: NDpolitics.areavoices.com on 2012 N.D. Senate debate Mar 31, 2012

Heidi Heitkamp: Federal mandate is serious problem; ObamaCare is not perfect

Heitkamp has been relatively quiet on the issue of health care reform despite her outspoken support of the controversial legislation two years ago. "I've often said that it's not a perfect law," Heitkamp said. "There are some good things in the health care law that make sense, and there are some serious problems that make no sense at all. There are some serious problems with the law like the federal mandate requiring you to buy health insurance and way too much red tape for small businesses."

But Heitkamp's remarks offer a stark contrast to her rousing support for health care reform two years ago. "Her critique of Pres. Obama's most controversial act reveals the delicate balancing act she'll attempt to perform--embracing the more popular pieces of reform, while carving out distance from its centerpiece," a Politico analyst writes. "The problem for Heitkamp is that the criticism appears to be new. There isn't evidence she raised concerns about the health care law until she was a candidate."

Source: Kirsten Daum on 2012 N.D. Senate debate Mar 30, 2012

John Hoeven: Tort reform over Canadian-style, single-payer' plan

Asked whether the health care bill should be repealed, Potter said it should stay in place because it enhances the ability of people to see a doctor when they need one. It's not a perfect plan, he said, but a "step in the right direction.''

Hoeven didn't say if he would repeal the federal health care plan, but said it needed to be fixed with tort reform and the ability for people to pick their own doctor and insurance. He also said the issue showed a clear difference between the two men and criticized Potter for supporting--while deputy insurance commissioner in the late 1970s--a "Canadian-style, single-payer'' plan. "He truly believes the federal government should run your health care. I don't,'' said Hoeven.

Source: Crookston Daily Times coverage of 2010 N.D. Senate Debate Sep 24, 2010

Tracy Potter: ObamaCare isn't perfect, but a step in the right direction

Asked whether the health care bill should be repealed, Potter said it should stay in place because it enhances the ability of people to see a doctor when they need one. It's not a perfect plan, he said, but a "step in the right direction.''

Hoeven didn't say if he would repeal the federal health care plan, but said it needed to be fixed with tort reform and the ability for people to pick their own doctor and insurance. He also said the issue showed a clear difference between the two men and criticized Potter for supporting--while deputy insurance commissioner in the late 1970s--a "Canadian-style, single-payer'' plan. "He truly believes the federal government should run your health care. I don't,'' said Hoeven.

Source: Crookston Daily Times coverage of 2010 N.D. Senate Debate Sep 24, 2010

John Hoeven: Reform is a $500 billion tax increase and cut in Medicare

Tracy Potter and John Hoeven answered questions on issues facing the country. One being Healthcare.

Democrat Potter doesn't support repealing the law. He says there are wonderful provisions and it will bring $650 million to the state health care industry.

Republican Hoeven calls the legislation a $500 billion tax increase and cut in Medicare. He wants reform to crack down on problem, but says people should pick their own providers and companies and more competition is needed across state lines

Source: KXNet.com coverage of 2010 N.D. Senate Debate Sep 23, 2010

Tracy Potter: Reform brings $650 million to the state health care industry

Tracy Potter and John Hoeven answered questions on issues facing the country. One being Healthcare.

Democrat Potter doesn't support repealing the law. He says there are wonderful provisions and it will bring $650 million to the state health care industry.

Republican Hoeven calls the legislation a $500 billion tax increase and cut in Medicare. He wants reform to crack down on problem, but says people should pick their own providers and companies and more competition is needed across state lines

Source: KXNet.com coverage of 2010 N.D. Senate Debate Sep 23, 2010

John Hoeven: Gov’t ensures basic health care only for elderly & needy

Source: 2004 N.D. Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2004

  • The above quotations are from State of North Dakota Politicians: Archives.
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