Senate candidates debate at Jorgensen
Published: Friday, October 12, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 12, 2012 00:10
With less than one month until Election Day, Senate candidates Dem. Chris Murphy and Rep. Linda McMahon discussed how to address the economy, jobs, women’s access to contraceptives and the Affordable Care Act in a heated, rapid-fire U.S. Senate debate at Jorgensen on Thursday night.
The candidates had 30 seconds to answer each question, 30 seconds for a rebuttal and one minute for a closing statement. Multiple times, the candidates were reminded of the time limits by a moderator after exceeding them.
When asked about the hotly contested individual mandate of the Affordable Healthcare Act and whether they would make any changes, Murphy said he would leave the act as it is and McMahon said she would vote to repeal and replace the act.
The Affordable Healthcare Act’s individual mandate requires most individuals to have healthcare. The act allows people to stay on parents’ healthcare until age 26 and does not allow insurance companies to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions. It was ruled constitutional in June by the Supreme Court.
“I’ve devoted my life to making sure everyone in the state has access to affordable, quality healthcare,” Murphy said. “There are thousands of families at risk of losing everything because of the cost of healthcare. Healthcare should be a human right.”
McMahon said she would appeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Act because it causes insurance premiums to increase and raises the cost of healthcare. However, she said she agreed with parts of the act.
“The fact that children can stay on plans is good and the fact that individuals can’t be denied for preexisting condition is good,” she said. “There would be no total reform … I think our healthcare ought to be affordable and accessible.”
On contraceptives, Murphy said they should be readily available and McMahon defined herself as pro-choice. But she said the more pertinent issues facing women today are unemployment and “difficulties making ends meet.”
Murphy said that women in poverty may not have access to contraceptives and said they need more readily available access.
“When they don’t have access to basic preventive help … it’s a basic economic factor,” Murphy said. “Linda McMahon would allow employers to deny contraceptive to women.”
In response to a question about what the candidates would do to help the economy if elected to the Senate, Murphy said he would boost the economy with job creation and by keeping manufacturing local.
“Protecting manufacturing is absolutely critical,” Murphy said. “We’re going to be out of work because we are shipping our jobs overseas.”
McMahon said she has a plan that includes tax cuts for the middle class and business, spending reductions and an energy policy.
On taxes, McMahon said she is in favor of continuing current tax law but would vote to implement a tax cut for the middle class.
“I do call for a tax cut for the middle class,” McMahon said. “There would be no gain or loss for others. I don’t think that now the time to raise taxes and I’m the only one on the stage who has called for a tax cut from the middle class. I’d be willing to pay more taxes as long as those taxes take care of deficit.”
Murphy disagreed with McMahon on cutting taxes and said tax cuts are not the solution for restoring a damaged economy.
“We know tax cuts don’t work,” Murphy said. “We tried it. Does it make sense to give Linda McMahon a $7 million tax cut? … I don’t think we should reauthorize the Bush tax cuts.”
The candidates were asked what they would do to protect the Social Security program while keeping it in check. McMahon said she would not reduce Medicare benefits for the senior population and Murphy said. “We’ve got to get serious about strengthening Social Security” and that he is interested in reducing drug and insurance companies’ payment to accomplish this.
Murphy said McMahon would be in favor of reducing Medicare benefits for seniors. McMahon denied the claim.