WirePOLITICS: Naughton criticized for public healthcare stance

Tom Waringthe Wire

State Rep. Steve Santarsiero, a Democratic candidate in the 8th Congressional District, is criticizing primary opponent Shaughnessy Naughton for coming out against a public healthcare option in a Bucks County Courier Times editorial board meeting.

Santarsiero linked Naughton to congressional Republicans, who oppose the public healthcare option that is supported by the vast majority of Democrats.

“The public option is a common-sense health care reform that would force private insurance companies to stay competitive, give customers greater health care options and ultimately save lives — all without raising taxes. I’m dismayed that Shaughnessy Naughton is siding with Tea Party Republicans and insurance companies over patients, health care advocates and the hardworking Pennsylvania families she is seeking to represent in Congress,” he said.

The public option was originally part of the Affordable Care Act, but was stripped from the reconciled bill. The public option was to be a federally administered insurance plan that customers could buy into, offering competition with private insurers to bring down costs. It also included the so-called “Medicare buy-in option,” where customers could purchase into Medicare before reaching retirement age.

In other campaign news, Santarsiero has earned the backing of the National Education Association and Pennsylvania State Education Association.

Santarsiero is the son of a teacher. Following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he left his law practice to follow in his father’s footsteps and teach social studies at Bensalem High School.

“As a former teacher, I couldn’t be prouder to have the support of Pennsylvania teachers and the education community,” he said. “In Congress, I will continue the fight for early childhood education, fully funded classrooms and affordable higher education for every student who dreams of attending college.”

“Steve Santarsiero is a friend to public education, and that means he’s a friend to the 1.8 million kids who learn in Pennsylvania’s public schools and to the educators who work so hard to give them the power of a great education,” said PSEA President Jerry Oleksiak. “Steve has a great track record of supporting issues that PSEA members care about in the General Assembly, and he’ll take that experience to Washington and keep fighting for policies that help kids learn, help educators teach, and help our members provide for their families.”

In the state House, Santarsiero introduced legislation for a plan that reimbursed local school districts for costs associated with renovating new and replacing dilapidated classrooms. He’s opposed more standardized testing and worked to give teachers and school districts more local control.

Oleksiak said, “Steve Santarsiero can win this race, and if he does, our schools, students, and educators will be better off. That’s why he has PSEA’s and NEA’s endorsement.”

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