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9th District Congressional Candidates Participate In Healthcare Forum

Three Democratic and one Republican candidate for Indiana’s 9th District took place in a forum about healthcare Monday night (Barbara Brosher/WTIU).

Candidates running for Indiana’s 9th Congressional district talked about the future of healthcare in the U.S. during a forum Monday night. Hoosiers for A Commonsense Health Plan organized the event as an opportunity for voters to ask candidates questions.

But, one was notably absent.

Current 9th District Representative, Republican Trey Hollingsworth, declined to attend the forum.

The three democrats and one republican who did attend responded to questions covering everything  from health care costs and affordability, to combating the opioid crisis.

Republican candidate for Indiana Congressional District 9 James Dean Alspach (Barbara Brosher, WFIU/WTIU News)

Republican James Dean Alspach is challenging Hollingsworth in the primary. He says an incremental plan to reforming the health care system is key.

“Health care, continues to focus on treatment, it needs to focus more on prevention and we need to educate a generation of healthy individuals,” Alspach says.

Democratic candidate for Indiana Congressional District 9 Dan Canon (Barbara Brosher, WFIU/WTIU News)

Democratic Congressional candidate Dan Canon says that the issue of treatment needs to be dealt with as a public health issue, not one within the criminal justice system. He says there’s a need for more community resources like needle exchange programs and overdose reversal drugs.

“Narcan is very important, that stuff is very cheap it should be available on every street corner. We’ve done three trainings out of our office for Narcan,” Canon says.

Democratic candidate for Indiana Congressional District 9 Liz Watson (Barbara Brosher, WFIU/WTIU News)

Democrat Liz Watson says many of the problems with the current healthcare system revolve around costs. She says healthcare should be more about who needs it.

“But you know health care is really measured in human lives and that’s the conversation that we need to be having here today. Because what we’re talking about is how it is that we’re going to go about saving lives,” Watson says.

Democratic candidate for Indiana Congressional District 9 Rob Chatlos (Barbara Brosher, WFIU/WTIU News)

Democrat Rob Chatlos says money is also problematic when it comes to politics.  He encouraged voters to endorse clean campaigns and challenged other candidate’s fundraising tactics.

“If you have to say that you’re not a Washington insider, you’re a Washington insider,” Chatlos says. “And if you have to defend raising your money for your campaign, you’re probably not doing it in the way you could.”

Both Watson and Canon addressed Chatlos’s claim, arguing their campaign fundraising efforts have been ethical and well documented.

The primary election is May 8.

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