Democrats of the 14th Congressional District Speak on Healthcare

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No democratic candidate has won an election in the 14th Congressional District of Illinois since 1936, but seven candidates are up to take on Republican incumbent Randy Hultren for his seat this November.

The Wheatland Township Democrats held a public forum for the candidates to let their positions be known, and one topic that stood out was healthcare.

Long-time teacher Victor Swanson feels that lifting the cap on Medicare is an important step to make.

“Right now you only get taxed up to a certain amount of income,” said Swanson. “We need to increase that cap so that the wealthier pay more of their share for the expense of others to ensure that we’re a healthy nation and continue to live.”

Continuing the talk about Medicare was Matt Brolley, who’s been the mayor of Montgomery, Illinois, for five years. He advocated for a Medicare buy-in.

“Where folks that are my parents’ age could buy into the Medicare pool,” said Brolley. “They would then be putting a sum of money into that pool. I think that would go a long way to shorting up the pool.”

Lauren Underwood, a former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services senior advisor, said there should be no cuts to Medicare but also feels that more should be done about those who abuse it.

“Unfortunately we don’t have the level of resources in the federal government to weed out those bad actors,” said Underwood. “And I do think that there needs to be an increased investment in staff resources.”

Salesman Jim Walz said he believes in Medicare for all, and it’s an important step for the U.S. to make to stand amongst other countries with universal healthcare.

“We should have Medicare for all right now,” said Walz. “We’re the only industrialized country in the world that does not offer basic medical care to all of their citizens. I find that to be immoral.”

Retired chemical engineer George Weber agreed with Walz, but said it’s important to think about how 401ks and social security works into healthcare, too.

“We need to look at it from more of a broader perspective than just Medicare,” said Weber. “We need to look at the whole standpoint of retirement, healthcare, and our safety net.

Businessman John Hosta talked about how pharmaceutical companies control a lot of healthcare expenses. He touched on how it would be important to incentivize healthcare.

“So what happens is we can incentivize so people don’t spend so much money by continuously going to the doctor because they are on a benefit program, as they well should be,” said Hosta.

Seventh candidate and teacher Daniel Roldan-Johnson was not in attendance.

Voting for the general primary election will be held on March 20.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.