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Health care reform will be the central focus of a debate among the Republican U.S. Senate candidates in Des Moines May 22nd. The debate is sponsored by the Iowa Association of Health Underwriters and moderated by WHO-HD Political Director Dave Price.

The botched launch of the Affordable Care Act website became a focal point of criticism, especially among Republicans, who opposed an expansion of the federal government’s role in the health care system. Supporters of President Obama’s plan to reform the system, though, have criticized Republicans for talking most about repealing the new health care law and not discussing what they would use to replace the system or how they would reform it.

“The cost of healthcare and ultimately the insurance premium must be addressed at some point.  Our Association members deal with this every day when working with Iowans.  At some point we must do something about this ever costly and burdensome system,” Eric Kohlsdorf, IAHU Government Relations Chair, said in a statement.

IAHU is the state chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters that the group said represents 100,000 professional health insurance agents and brokers.

Campaigns for Mark Jacobs, Sam Clovis, Matt Whitaker and Scott Schaben confirmed to the group they would take part in the event. Joni Ernst’s campaign wouldn’t confirm her attendance. Democratic candidate Bruce Braley declined the group’s invitation to appear.

Kohlsdorf said the group will still let Ernst and Braley join the event if they change their mind.

UPDATE: Ernst’s campaign confirmed Thursday afternoon that she will attend. Braley’s campaign said he can’t because the congressman will be in Washington, D.C. The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to be in session then.


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