Below are excerpts of the Janesville Gazette’s coverage of the third debate between Bryan Steil and Randy Bryce.
[…] Democrat Bryce and Republican Steil got into a sometimes-intense back-and-forth about health insurance.
Steil said the solution to such problems is to lower the cost of health care.
Steil said patients should be able to shop for insurance, which he said would drive down prices.
“You need to have individuals have some stake in the game as they’re making their health care decisions,” Steil said.
Steil went on to say that it’s like when he was in college and shopped for dental care he could afford with a high-deductible plan.
Steil said health savings accounts would put people in charge of some of those decisions.
Bryce, on the other hand, is “suggesting a government takeover of health care. That would end private insurance as we know it. That would destabilize Medicare that millions of seniors rely on,” Steil charged.
Bryce indeed is calling for a single-payer system dubbed Medicare for all.
Bryce said most people have struggled to pay for health care, and he talked about his fight with cancer when he didn’t have insurance.
“It’s a little bit of a different story hearing what a millionaire has to go through as far as paying for his health care,” Bryce said.
Steil never challenged Bryce’s assertion that Steil is a millionaire.
With Bryce’s plan, Steil said, millions of Wisconsinites would lose the ability to choose their doctor and instead put government in charge of that decision.
Bryce responded that people who now see their earnings going to a paycheck deduction for health insurance would pay less. He cited a “Koch brothers” study that he claimed showed Medicare for all would save $2 trillion in health care costs.
Politifact looked at that claim and found the study also raised a second possibility: that it would increase costs by $3.3 trillion.
“I don’t know where we’re getting this enormous price tag from,” Bryce said.
“What’s the price? What’s the price? What’s the price?” Steil interrupted.
Bryce: “$32 trillion.”
Steil: “So how are you going to pay $32 trillion?”
“Mr. Steil, would you let Mr. Bryce answer,” said one of the moderators, UW-Whitewater professor Susan Johnson.
Bryce: “Right now we’re probably paying more for insurance than anybody else. Every industrialized country around us has some form of universal health care. … It’s not going to be perfect. It’s going to have bumps, but it’s something that our people definitely deserve, especially when you’re talking about giving $1.5 trillion away to the richest people, and we’re getting nothing in return for it,” Bryce said, referring to the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Republicans passed last year.
Steil: “So we agree there’s a $32 trillion program, so now how do you pay for it? So the question is, is it debt, or do you raise taxes?”
Bryce: “It’s already being paid for, (with) what we already pay now.”
Steil, interrupting loudly: “We already noted that the debt’s out of control. You just added $32 trillion to it.”
Bryce, also raising his voice: “Paul Ryan just left us this deficit, this hole.”
The exchange fizzled as moderators cut them off and moved on. […]
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