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McDonnell grilled on health care

Sandhya Somashekhar

Republican Robert F. McDonnell today held a brief town hall meeting at the Manassas offices of Micron Technology Inc., which employs about 1,600 people in Virginia. The Idaho-based semiconductor microchip manufacturer's political action committee has contributed at least $10,000 to McDonnell over the years and its CEO, Steve Appleton, delivered a warm introduction before McDonnell's remarks.

That's not to say McDonnell was handed softball questions. More than 100 employees gathered in a large conference room to hear McDonnell speak, among them Charles McClure, an electrician who delivered the hardball of the day: How, he asked, will you ensure that Virginians receive the same quality of health insurance you do as a public employee?

McDonnell was typically on message, though clearly less comfortable on this issue than the topics he has been talking about regularly on the trail, such as job creation and energy independence.

"Anywhere from 5 to 15 percent of Virginians don't have a bona fide insurance policy, and there are a lot of reasons for it. Some are illegal immigrants, some don't have insurance by choice, some have legitimate preexisting conditions and don't qualify," he said. "My opinion is that overall, people are generally satisfied with the doctor-patient relationship under our current system."

Noting that he believes the private sector, rather than the government, is best equipped to properly manage the system, he suggested that changes in federal and state law might allow small businesses that currently can't afford coverage for their employees to do so, and proposed expanding the practice of private health care spending accounts. He endorsed tort reform, rejected the idea of a health care mandate, and said there should be greater awareness of the state's system of free clinics.

McClure, a Democrat and supporter of McDonnell's opponent, R. Creigh Deeds, was not impressed.

"I think he danced around the question," he said after the forum. "My question was, is he going to actively pursue improving the quality of health care for the people of Virginia? He didn't say one way or the other."

More on both candidates' views of health care here.

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  October 23, 2009; 11:55 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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Many other concerns arise from McDonnell's perspectives, who promises liquor store on every corner. He has great support from the alcohol industry, which he intends to privatize.

So far, McDonnell has received over a half million dollars from the alcohol beverage, hotel, and recreation industries with $215K alone from alcohol beverage distributors including $55K from Premium Distributors of Va LLC, $50 from the Va Beer Wholesalers Assn, $26K from Silver Eagle Distributors LP, and $25K from Associated Distributors/The Charmer Sunbelt Group.


Posted by: rokay | October 23, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

McSoundbite's campaign didn't provide him a poll tested non answer for this question. So McDonnell says he has his socialist military health coverage and he could care less about anyone else.

Yes, retired as a LtCol from the peace time Army. That means he was forced out of the military because he couldn't make the next promotion.

Posted by: Willis3 | October 23, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

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