KENNESAW — Jeff Kazanow makes no bones about it: He doesn’t think government is doing enough, particularly in health care. He would have preferred a government-run, “single-payer” system to the individual mandate the Supreme Court held up Thursday.
“We need to get control over health care,” said Kazanow, one of two Democrats in the July 31 primary for the District 6 U.S. House of Representatives seat currently held by Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell). “It’s a right, not a privilege. We have the best health care system in the world for those who can afford it, but we have 20 (million) to 60 million people who have little or no access.”
Still, Kazanow, 57, said he is pleased the Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“Unfortunately, you’ve got to do it,” he said.
Kazanow said the government being involved with health care will offer savings over the current system.
“Death panels exist today — they’re called insurance companies,” he said. “And you don’t have a choice of your death panel. If you don’t like their decision, you can appeal it. If you don’t like the answer, you could be out of luck.”
Kazanow, a Kennesaw business consultant, will take on Roswell business owner Robert Montigel in the primary. The winner will face five-term incumbent Price in November.
Kazanow said he would help Cobb County secure federal funds to build a light rail line, initially from the Cumberland Mall area to Midtown Atlanta, should the county request it.
“The roads here are terrible. They’re crumbling,” he said. “We need to move lots of people in fewer vehicles. Atlanta is involved in roads and other stuff that will be even worse.”
Kazanow also said Congress needs to act to make sure interest rates on student loans don’t rise.
“We have defunded education, so the cost is rising,” he said. “The cost of education is rising, so now we want to increase the cost of borrowing as they come out of school with massive debt?”
Paying for expanded government programs would involve tax increases for some, Kazanow said. To start, he would eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent of wage earners.
Kazanow said he is running to help turn the country back from the programs that started under former President Ronald Reagan’s “voodoo” economics.
“We started defunding a lot of our infrastructure,” he said. “It got really bad under (George W.) Bush. I just couldn’t take it anymore. We’re leaving our children a lesser world than we inherited.”
While he likes Montigel personally, Kazanow said his opponent is more likely to worry first about reducing the federal deficit, whereas Kazanow wants to work to invest in jobs.
“George Bush left us a terrible legacy,” Kazanow said. “I would focus on rebuilding the economy right now, on infrastructure projects, on investments in new technology. The rising tide lifts all boats — my opponent will probably try to cut his way out.”
But Kazanow reserves his harshest criticism for Price, who he calls an “obstructionist.”
“I don’t think he’s the man that the folks who voted for him though he was,” Kazanow said. “He’s shifted too far to the right for the district.”
Despite Price’s easy wins in recent elections and large financial advantage, Kazanow said he is in the race to win. He said 48 percent of District 6, which will include parts of east Cobb and north Fulton and DeKalb counties under redistricting that goes into effect in this election, is made up of people “leaning or strong” Democrats, undecided or independents.
“If we can pick off 25 percent of the moderate Republican women who are tired of having talk of jobs and voting on abortion, we can beat Tom Price,” Kazanow said.