SUWANEE — Robert Montigel said his own family experience has shown him the potential value of “Obamacare.”
A Democratic candidate for U.S House District 6, currently held by Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell), said his son Jason, a chef in Nantucket, Mass., fell ill because of a MRSA staph infection in his leg. But because of a law signed in 2006 by then-Gov. Mitt Romney, he was forced to buy health insurance, something Montigel said caused his son to have his leg checked out more quickly, which allowed the infection to be caught before it became more serious.
He is thankful that the individual mandate in “Romney Care” will be implemented nationwide as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the constitutionality of the similar federal law Thursday.
“One of the main points of the health care law is to have people go for preventative care,” Montigel said. “We are thankful to Gov. Romney.”
Of course, Romney promises to repeal and replace the federal health care act if he is elected president. And Montigel will be voting for Obama in November.
But first Montigel, 65, has a race of his own against Kennesaw business consultant Jeff Kazanow in the July 31 Democratic Primary, with the winner facing off against five-term incumbent Price in November.
While he supports it, Montigel said more can be done to make the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act more affordable. He would like to see new treatments available that can save money, such as expanding telemedicine, where a doctor can have a video visit with a patient far away.
“It’s a starting point. Nothing is perfect,” he said of Obamacare. “When you get new information, you react to it and make changes.”
Montigel also supports efforts for Congress to reduce interest rates on student loans. But again, he said more will have to happen to make online learning easier, which could also lower costs.
“There’s no reason for costs to go up,” he said. “There’s no reason there have to be so many brick and mortar classrooms.”
Montigel, a Roswell resident who owns a small business in Suwanee, said he would work to secure federal funds for a light rail line, proposed to initially go between Cumberland Mall and Midtown Atlanta, should Cobb County commissioners request such help.
“There’s a place in Atlanta for light rail,” he said. “Everything has to be done in the framework of what’s being done for the overall country … I’d rather see federal money go to infrastructure than to one-time spending.”
Montigel said he would have to evaluate whether he wants to continue to see House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California stay on as the leading Democrat in the body once he gets to Washington.
While he said he agrees with Kazanow on most issues, Montigel said he has a more moderate approach that can appeal to independents, something that would be advantageous in the general election. Despite a reported financial advantage of $1.4 million for Price, compared to nothing for either Democratic opponent, and the fact that Price gathered 69 percent of the vote in 2008, the last time he faced a Democratic challenger, Montigel insists that he is in the race to win because people are growing weary of Republicans in Washington.
“If he was a true leader, he would be working with the opposition and the people in the Senate to come up with a solution, instead of blaming the Senate for everything,” Montigel said of Price.