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The Veterans Administration scandal was among the topics discussed during a debate among Republican candidates running for Tom Harkin’s Senate seat.

The Iowa Association of Health Underwriters sponsored the debate, which was held in downtown Des Moines Thursday.

This is what the candidates had to say when asked if it’s time to transition the VA away from a government owned system.

“I’d like to see a plan where we are on a glide path to insurance that is subsidized much like I would see a Medicare system, a voucher system, where you are offered an amount of money and you can use it in the free market and either buy more than the voucher or buy less,” says Matt Whitaker.

Scott Schaben noted, “Before we do anything before we would do any transition there’d have to be cost benefit analysis done to it. Part of the reason why the VA is there right now and we’re not putting our veterans into it is because in theory it should be less expensive to the government.

“If you pull out a map and look at where we have VA facilities across this state, many of our veterans have to drive long distances to get basic medical care. And that’s not right. What we need to do is we need to open up to other private market, out of network options so that our veterans can get the health care the medical care that they deserve that we have committed to provide for them,” says Mark Jacobs.

Sam Clovis and Jodi Ernst also suggested changing the system. View all the responses below:


  • William Denison

    Six people was there in the seats. Two was caught sleeping,two was there for the free coffee and cookies and the other two was just lost taking a break before they kept walking.

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