BURBANK — Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina said Thursday she would work to repeal President Barack Obama's health care reforms if elected, and propose a model that would force health insurers and drug companies to compete for customers.
"This health care bill does not solve problems," Fiorina told a meeting of the California Association of Health Underwriters. "It creates them."
The former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co., who is engaged in a tight race with Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer, said the administration's plan was flawed in that it puts 16 million uninsured people into Medicaid, the state-federal health care program for the poor, disabled and aged, which is ill-equipped to accommodate them. "It is simple politics at its very worst," she said.
However, she did not say how those individuals should get health coverage. Instead, she advocated a system in which employees would "own" their health insurance and insurers would compete for clients.
Employees would receive the same tax breaks for health insurance costs as employers and would be able to take their insurance with them if they change or lose jobs, Fiorina said.
Fiorina and Boxer have staked out opposing views on health care. Boxer has said some features of the health overhaul could be improved, but has warned against repealing the measure as a replacement could take a long time.
"If Carly Fiorina had her way and health care reform was repealed, sick kids would immediately be thrown off their parents' insurance. She would also increase the cost of prescription drugs and allow insurance companies to deny people coverage when they get sick or have a pre-existing condition," said Rose Kapolczynski, Boxer campaign manager, on Thursday.
Noting her own battle with breast cancer over the past year, Fiorina said she was against governmental agencies dictating medical protocols. She pointed to the federal Department of Health and Human Services task force recommendation last year that cast doubt on the efficacy of annual mammograms and self-examinations as misguided.
Another key plank of Fiorina's platform is to make the federal government more transparent and accountable to citizens. She said she wants agencies to post their budgets on the Internet and also called for putting proposed legislation on the Internet, with the attached costs, so citizens could comment before it is voted on. "We need to reform how government operates in Washington D.C.," she said.
Taxpayers should also have a chance to allot 10 percent of their federal income taxes to paying down the deficit, she said, and added that federal spending should be capped and earmarking special projects in the budget should be banned "once and for all."
On the economy, Fiorina said the federal stimulus plan has been largely a waste of taxpayer dollars because it has created few jobs. Instead, she advocated giving incentives to small business, such as a two-year payroll tax holiday for each unemployed person a business hires.
"The way to get the economy going is to help out small businesses and family businesses," she said. "Virtually, all Americans get started in small business."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.