BILLINGS – As the campaign trail heats up across the nation ahead of Election Day, voters have probably noticed health care coverage mentioned in campaign ads.
Some candidates are using their beliefs on coverage to attract voters and paint their opponent in a negative light.
One Billings doctor who has been in the health care profession for more than 35 years calls this rhetoric “concerning.”
Oncologist Dr. Patrick Cobb recently shared his thoughts on the stance candidates are taking, calling them “extreme positions.”
“Health care is such a big part of the United States economy. It affects everybody, all Americans. So my concern is when I hear this kind of rhetoric, that I would suggest we take a more measured approach. There’s no question that things need to be changed. The only incorrect answer would be to do nothing because things do need to change. But to be too radical one way or the other, I don’t think that serves anybody’s best interest,” Cobb said.
The term “pre-existing conditions” is also showing up in campaign ads.
Generally speaking, the ads claim Republicans don’t support policies that cover pre-existing conditions, and they plan to repeal the affordable care act.
While it’s true the Republican Party isn’t satisfied with the Affordable Care Act, just this Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel said he’s not aware of anyone in the Senate who wishes to strip away protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
Dr. Cobb has witnessed the importance of programs that give more people access to health insurance, saying they are “vitally important.”
“Before the Affordable Care Act in Montana, 20 percent of people who are under the age of 65 didn’t have health insurance,” he said. “So if you do the math, that means that about 1 in 10 people that came to see me, didn’t have health insurance. And everybody that came to the front door had a pre-existing condition. So these things that expand health insurance coverage to more people, and to get rid of pre-existing conditions, as a way to get insurance, those things are really important to my patients.”
Overall, Dr. Cobb believes both sides need to be heard in the health care debate.
“We need to take the best ideas of both sides, be able to build on what we have, not to throw the baby out with the bath water and start from scratch,” he said. “It’s obvious we need to change the way healthcare is delivered in the United States, but we need to take the best ideas from both sides.”
Reporting by Victoria Hill for MTN News