Peter Roskam Draws An Opponent-- Meet Geoff Petzel (IL-06)
Roskam retained his seat 205,746 (59.5%) to 140,023 (40.5%), at least in part because the clueless DCCC couldn't imagine 2016 wasn't going too be a good year for Republicans in suburban districts like IL-06. They refused to support the Democratic candidate running against Roskam, Amanda Howland, a middle-of-the-road Democrat who only managed to spend $98,179. Interestingly, Roskam sensed the trouble even if morons like Steve Israel, Ben Ray Lujan, Nancy Pelosi and Kelly Ward didn't. He raised $2,988,266 and then spent far more than that: $3,331,980. A couple of right-wing SuperPACs also spent some money for him. No one spent anything to help Howland.
Looking out of the rearview mirror, as usual, the DCCC is all worked up over IL-06 now, ready to target it. A progressive candidate, Geoffrey Petzel, has already jumped in. He's a single-payer advocate, has been an outspoken opponent of neoliberal trade deals like NAFTA and the TPP and is also outspoken on campaign finance reform and comprehensive immigration reform and, most of all, on the environment and Climate Change issues. He also supported Bernie for president. (Aside: In the primaries IL-06 was Bernie country and he won DuPage, Kane and McHenry counties handily.)
Saturday I spoke at length with Geoff about his campaign-- which he launched Wednesday-- and about the issues that re motivating his decision to run. One, of course, was healthcare. He had just been to the twonhall meeting of a very conservative Democrat, New Dem Brad Schneider who represents an adjoining district. Geoff told me Schneider is a nice person but wasn't comfortable with his responses to the overflowing audiences questions about healthcare. People are concerned because of Republicans-- including, of course Peter Roskam-- intentions to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Schneider basically told his constituents that he wants to "keep it in place; next question."
Like Bernie, Geoff has much more ambitious and detailed plans for healthcare. He's happy with the Affordable Care Act's accomplishments-- 20 million more of is covered by health insurance; no more denial of insurance for pre-existing conditions; the ability of young people to stay on their parents' insurance until the age of 26; and the elimination of lifetime spending caps on insurance policies, to name a few standouts. He acknowledged, though that there are still many problems that need to be addressed from a serious perspective, including rising premiums and the fact that many hospitals and doctors aren't part of the system. He says he'll fight to preserve and improve the the Affordable Care Act but he believes this country needs "a single payer health care system that guarantees health insurance to all Americans. Access to health care should be a right, not a privilege." He outlined a comprehensive health care plan that includes major reforms aimed at:
The DCCC doesn't encourage-- quite the opposite-- candidates to go into this kind of detail about what they plan to do once they're serving in Congress. The DCCC is what you would call controversy-adverse. But Geoff isn't anyone's cardboard cutout of a candidate. He's an extremely independent minded, grassroots, activist-oriented guy, not a career-politician. You probably heard me the first time-- he was a Bernie-supporter in the presidential primary. Blue America endorsed him this week and we'll have more about his campaign tomorrow. Meanwhile, if you'd like to contribute to his campaign, please tap the ActBlue thermometer on the right and donate what you feel comfortable giving. The sooner Congress is rid of Peter Roskam the better, but, even more important, the sooner we have more men and women serving in that body like Geoff Petzel, the sooner we'll be able to put a stop to all this crackpot Trumpery and get the country moving in the right direction again.1. Controlling the cost of health care for individuals, families and business,1. We will control cost for families and businesses. The average employer pays 14% of its payroll towards health benefits and the average person pays 13% of their pay to cover health insurance premiums. Under this plan, the government would institute a payroll tax of 8.25%. This would actually reduce the amount of money spent by employers and employees.
2. Providing quality care to every American,
3. Controlling the cost of health care within our state and federal budgets.
My plan maintains the existing level of federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid. This current level of spending combined with the new payroll tax revenue would generate enough revenue to cover 100% of the medical costs for every American. Such a plan provides for certainty of cost for businesses and employees, prevents massive increases in future government spending, and provides quality health care to every American. Under my plan, every American would have health insurance.
2. A universal, single payer health care system must include coverage for EVERY HOSPITAL and EVERY DOCTOR. When someone needs medical care they shouldn't need to worry which hospital or doctor is "in-network."
3. We must give the federal government the right to negotiate drug prices for our new healthcare system. Large pharmaceutical companies should not be able to initiate uncontrolled price increases or limit access to life saving drugs for financial gain. We will also need to limit annual cost increases for services to ensure that the revenues collected can cover high quality care for all Americans.