Mel Hall, the Democratic candidate for U.S. House of Representatives’ 2nd District of Indiana seat in the Nov. 6 election, spent a good portion of Wednesday in Rochester.
Hall had a meet-and-greet at Jarrety’s, visited Smith Family Farms and then had lunch with Rochester Kiwanis Club.
After telling the Kiwanians his history, Hall said why he’s running: “I’ve been interested in politics my whole life. I’ve followed it. Sometimes I’ve com plained about the quality of candidates. I believe Washington is broken, and as a Democrat, I will say both parties are to blame.”
He’s got three main concerns.
They are: Accountability – If elected, Hall said, he’ll hold quarterly town meetings. He said incumbent Republican Jackie Walorski hasn’t held a town hall meeting in five years.
“I believe in accountability,” Hall said, throwing in, “If you can’t pass a budget, you shouldn’t get paid, period.”
Cooperation – “I believe in cooperation. I am a centrist. I don’t care if someone has an R or a D in front of their name. I really don’t care.” Most people in the district, he said, are likely in the middle like he is.
Term limits – “I believe in term limits. I would only serve three terms,” he said.
His biggest interest when it comes to issues is health care. He worked 19 years for Press Ganey, a firm that collects patient satisfaction data about medical care facilities. He then left to launch the health care staffing firm SpecialtyCare, which he left about a year ago when it changed ownership.
To change health care delivery in the United States, Hall said, three things have to happen: First, competition among health insurers must increase. Without competition, prices rise. About 30 percent of the people using the Obamacare health exchange live in areas where there’s no competition between insurance companies; Second, there’s a significant amount of administrative waste in health care that drives costs up. The American Hospital Association, Hall said, estimates there’s $38 billion worth of administrative waste a year, which equals $1,200 per hospital stay; Third, the fact there’s no competitive billing for Medicare patients’ prescription drugs must change to lower those prices for consumers.
Hall also was asked at both Jarrety’s and Kiwanis Club about Chinese import tariffs on American-made goods and commodities and U.S. tariffs on imports from China.
Bill Roe, owner of House of Decor, told him at Jarrety’s he’s facing a 25 percent increase from his flooring suppliers Oct. 1.
“It’s clear China has been a horrible partner,” Hall said. He believes using trade to deal with the situation is good, but it shouldn’t have been done in such a “knee-jerk or flyoff- the-handle manner.”
Hall said Walorski has agreed to three televised debates.
“I think if someone’s a Hoosier, you keep your word. So, we shall see,” he said of whether dates will be worked out.
He also said he’s willing to debate at Rochester High School and has been in contact with the Advanced Placement government class that traditionally sponsors those debates.