From privatized Medicaid to tax reform and abortion, more than a dozen topics were touched on Wednesday.
When multiple candidates gather for a debate, it can be difficult for them to get a word in edgewise.
But during the 1 1/2 hour forum Wednesday night in Johnston, Iowa Public Television was able to cover more than a dozen topics with the six Democratic candidates for governor.
They were given the chance to respond to accusations leveled against them by their opponents, while still centering the conversation largely on top issues facing Iowa such as privatized Medicaid, water quality and budgetary concerns.
Here's a look at some of the topics discussed and where the candidates stood:
Tax reform bill
Republicans passed legislation at the end of session early this month to start dropping income tax rates in 2019. The $2.1 billion proposal, which also would significantly cut corporate rates and expose certain online retailers to sales tax, has been criticized for revenue losses many analysts say will occur as a result.
Fred Hubbell: "I'm not ready to say it should be repealed yet, but what I am ready to say is let's attack the corporate tax giveaways, let's take back the commercial property tax break."
John Norris: "It absolutely needs to be repealed. There's no way we can sustain a $2 billion tax cut in this state when we're underfunding education, we've got tremendous mental health needs, we've got a water quality problem to pick up, and most of these tax cuts went to millionaires."
Cathy Glasson: "The damage is done with this tax cut. It's clearly a Republican tax cut for the wealthy. Now we're going to have to find creative ways to bring in revenue to cover the things we care about in this state because this tax bill is going to put Iowa in a deficit for years to come."
Nate Boulton: “What we've seen in this state is a fiscal nightmare because of this administration's inability to deal responsibly with our tax system. Most people understand when you find yourself in a hole you stop digging. I think we have to have somebody that has not shown that they're willing to engage in this coupon economic system (tax credits) that is failing our state right now.”
Andy McGuire: "I don't think we have a revenue problem, I think we have a priority problem. We've talked about these tax giveaways and I think it is a problem we have to look at. If I give you a dollar, if it's a good dollar, if it can give something back — a benefit to the taxpayer — that's great. But we've got a lot of these that are really almost corporate welfare.”
Two years after then-Gov. Terry Branstad transitioned Iowa's Medicaid population away from state management to for-profit insurance companies, some health care providers still are struggling to receive payments from the Managed Care Organizations and patients remain in an unstable system.
Hubbell: "What I want to do is bring it back under state management. If you look around, there are many, many states that have moved in this direction but there's hardly any states that have gone to a purely MCO approach because Medicaid is not just one person is the same."
McGuire: "Once we bring it back in (under state control) then you have to start saying how can we keep people healthier, how can we invest in their health? It's that kind of preventative care that you invest in people's health. It helps them get out of the circle of poverty, and also long term, it will help steady that amount of money that we spend ($1.3 billion)."
Norris: “We're going to have a Medicaid issue until we start getting people off eligibility for Medicaid. Had we done what Branstad and (Gov. Kim) Reynolds promised and raised people's incomes 25 percent we'd have less people on Medicaid. The misread on this was thinking they could save money by enabling insurance companies to make a big profit off the Medicaid pool money as opposed to working to invest in education and mental health care and raising wages in this state to get people off of Medicaid in general."
Boulton: "We have to get back to the legislation I co-sponsored for a six-month transition, get us back to square one to fee-for-service and figure out the long-term solutions by actually bringing people together, not a go-it-alone solution, hoping it works out in the end."
Wilburn: "The bottom line is we're going to pay for health care one way or the other. We can do it in a preventative way or we can do it the reactive way and allow for-profits to make money off of it. As Democrats we know we believe in individual responsibility, but we have a collective obligation to each other, so let's be Iowa and reverse the privatization of Medicaid."
Fetal heartbeat bill
A law recently signed by Reynolds would bar most abortions in Iowa once a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks into a woman's pregnancy. The law currently is tied up in court.
Boulton: "We can't be having legislation come through, get signed by the governor, without fully understanding exactly what it means. And in this case, it means threatening a woman's right to choose, making Iowa the most extreme anti-choice state in the nation — actually threatening to worsen our crisis in this state of not having enough OB-GYN care providers for Iowa women."
McGuire: "I appreciate that the courts will probably find this unconstitutional, but it was the wrong thing to do for women, it sends the wrong signal and it can hurt women. It won't decrease abortion, it will hurt women. It gets between a woman and her doctor on a very important issue."
Hubbell: "I think it comes down to, do we want Iowa to be known in the national news as the state that defunded Planned Parenthood and has the most extreme anti-women's health care law in the country, or do we want Iowa to be known as a state that has an excellent health care system, including mental health? That's what we should be aspiring for. This bill sends all the wrong messages. The sooner we can get rid of it the better."
Norris: "The one, two, $3 million dollars we're going to be spending defending this should be put back in Planned Parenthood."
Glasson: "This is a terrible bill, it is unconstitutional. The problem with it going through the courts is it will challenge Roe v. Wade on the national level, and that's what their (Republicans) hope is."