U.S. Rep. Steve King and his congressional opponent, Christie Vilsack, agree on one thing about the Supreme Court's health care decision: The debate isn't over.
King, R-Iowa, describes himself as the ''No. 1 opponent'' of the program he calls Obamacare. He pledged Thursday to continue the fight to repeal the law.
Vilsack, a Democrat from Ames, said the law must now be reformed because it doesn't do enough to control health care costs. After the Supreme Court issued its ruling, she announced seven changes she'd like to make in the law, starting with measures to control insurance premium costs.
King and Vilsack are vying to represent the 4th Congressional District, which includes Webster County and all of its surrounding counties.
The congressman attacks the health care law repeatedly in his stump speeches and campaign ads.
"I have been Obamacare's No. 1 opponent since it was forced upon us by President Obama and Nancy Pelosi," he said, referring to the California congresswoman who was the Speaker of the House when the health care bill was passed in 2010.
"Last year, my language to repeal Obamacare passed the House," King added in a written statement. "We will repeal this law and pull it out by its roots.
"Today's decision from the Supreme Court sets the stage for November's election when Americans will have a clear choice - voting for Republicans who will repeal Obamacare and install free market, commonsense solutions or voting for Democrats who will vote to keep this burdensome law that sent medical costs higher, cut Medicare by $532 billion and created trillions in new government spending we can't afford," he said.
King proposed doing these things if the health care law is repealed:
Allow people to buy insurance across state lines.
Enact medical liability reform.
Strengthen the doctor-patient relationship.
Increase competition in the health care market.
Preserve and strengthen Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the elderly.
Vilsack said she believes health care must be "accessible, affordable and high quality for all Americans." The current law, she said, has provisions that help to fulfill that vision. As an example of those, she cited the provision that allows young people to stay on their parents' health insurance policy until they are 26 years old.
The candidate said the law also eliminated the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage commonly called the "doughnut hole." She added that the law eliminates discrimination based on pre-existing medical conditions.
However, she said the law can be improved.
"Now that the Supreme Court has made their decision, Congress must reform the Affordable Care Act to control the skyrocketing costs of health care in America," Vilsack said in a written statement.
"This law did little to address the rapidly increasing cost of health care," she added. "I believe we must control costs and provide stability for families and small businesses in Iowa."
Vilsack proposes doing these things to improve the law:
Control soaring premiums.
Protect senior citizens from increased out-of-pocket expenses.
Allow the Medicare program to negotiate with drug makers to obtain better prices.
Provide more tax credits to small businesses that offer employee health insurance.
Switch to electronic record-keeping for health care administration.
Encourage disease prevention and coordinated care organizations.
Reduce regulation on rural clinics and hospitals.