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Delaney calls for universal health care program

Presidential hopeful visits FD

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea John Delaney, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, greets people Thursday evening at TC Mae’s, 1010 First Ave. S.

Every American should expect health care as a right and the government should set up a universal system to provide it, according to Democratic presidential candidate John Delaney.

“I think we should have universal health care in this country,” he said Thursday evening in Fort Dodge. “I think every American should have health care as a right.”

Delaney, a former congressman from Maryland, offered his views on health care, border security and other issues during an event at TC Mae’s. 1010 First Ave. S. About 15 people attended.

He visited Fort Dodge last year, but with the leadoff Iowa caucuses about a year away, his stop Thursday kicked off the local campaigning in earnest for what promises to be a crowded Democratic field.

In response to a question from the audience, Delaney said fixing the Affordable Care Act is the first step toward providing health care to all Americans. He said the measure championed by former President Barack Obama is a good law that’s helped a lot of people. But he said it’s been gutted to a certain extent.

“I would get it back to what it was,” he said.

He said after that was accomplished, he would begin creating a universal health plan.

“You create a government plan that everyone gets as a right,” he said.

The plan, he said, would be for all Americans from birth until they turned 65 and enrolled in Medicare, the government health insurance program for senior citizens. He said people would be allowed to buy supplemental insurance policies to bolster what they received from the government.

Medicaid, the joint federal and state health insurance program for the poor and disabled, would become part of the new setup, the candidate said.

Delaney did not say how this new program would be paid for.

While some Democrats have advocated for what they call “Medicare for all,” Delaney said his plan is not that. Medicare, he said, works well and would remain a separate system.

“You don’t mess with Medicare now,” he said.

He also called for allowing the federal government to negotiate with drug makers to obtain better prices. He called the current ban on such negotiations “idiotic.”

Delaney also weighed in on the battle between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over a wall along the border with Mexico.

“No, I don’t think we need this wall,” Delaney said. “He just ran on this issue and it’s a vanity project.”

His vision of improved border security includes increased use of drones and other electronic monitoring, more personnel and barriers in strategic places recommended by experts.

He said he thinks Congress and the president should determine an amount of money to be spent on border security, and then let experts decide how it should be divided between technology, personnel and limited barriers.

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