Kolbe, Kyl discuss US health care

By Cara Miller

Arizona Daily Wildcat

While victory celebrations were in order for the winners of last night's primaries, it was back to work for Jim Kolbe and Jon Kyl.

Instead of donning party hats and giving victory speeches, Kolbe and Kyl spent the afternoon discussing health care issues with University of Arizona medical students.

The main concern among the students was the impending fate of the universal health care plan currently being addressed in Congress.

While neither candidate expected any action within the remaining three weeks of the congressional session, both gave opinions on alternate possibilities to the plan.

Kolbe, a Republican who is seeking his sixth term as the District 5 U.S. Representative, said he would like to see all medical records be put on-line.

"Just eliminating all the paperwork could save billions of dollars," Kolbe said. "But security has been the big, big problem keeping this from happening."

Kyl, who ran unopposed in the Republican senatorial primary, agreed that confidentiality had been a key issue.

"Most members in Congress have not been educated in a lot of issues. Most of us only focus on part of it our particular area of expertise," Kyl said. "It's the best example of why you want Congress to do something slowly."

Kyl, who is not a proponent of the Clinton health care plan, co-sponsored House Bill #3080 this year which included provisions for community health centers, Medicaid reform, and expanding long term care.

"It was a good grouping of spe cific responses for specific issues," he said.

Kolbe also addressed welfare reform.

"I think welfare reform clearly has to be the first item on the agenda next year," he said. "We have to keep the focus on something that changes the system fundamentally."

He targeted the policy of paying people not to work and for each additional child a single mother has.

"We absolutely have to say there will be a place where the aid will stop. We have to set a limit on it," he said. "Unlike medical care, the welfare system is so broken we should just scrub it and start over."

The medical students were inquisitive and slightly skeptical about reforms.

"The problem is that no one in the medical field is part of the congressional process. The representatives are only specifically aware of their particular issues," said David Hardin, a first year medical student.

Rich Covey, a second year medical student, agreed.

"I think medical students in general are skeptical. I like some of the tenets of some things. But it is too hard to keep up with all the new information," he said.

Tallee Billiard, College Republican chairwoman, said she was pleased with the discussion.

"I was pleased that they aren't going to rush through passing a health care bill just for the sake of getting things done," she said.

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