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Senate hopeful takes aim at rival's proposed health plan
By Joseph Ryan | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 1/10/2008 12:23 AM

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Andy Martin is blasting his rival's cornerstone health care proposals, though he offers no counter proposal of his own.

"What I should bring to the table is a willingness to listen to conflicting points of view," said Martin, an Internet writer and lawyer, during his interview Wednesday with the Daily Herald's editorial board.

Martin, a perennial political candidate from Chicago, is going up against Willowbrook physician and GOP establishment favorite Steve Sauerberg as well as Chicago truck driver Mike Psak in the Feb. 5 GOP primary. The winner will try to unseat two-term Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democratic leader in Washington, D.C.

Martin ripped Sauerberg's plans to move initial malpractice lawsuits from the courts to an administrative hearing process involving a panel of physicians and attorneys. It is a linchpin to the family physician's proposal to make health insurance cheaper while bolstering the economy.

Martin said Sauerberg's plan would take away the rights of patients and gut the jury system, leading to more favorable rulings for doctors.

Sauerberg defended his plan at a Daily Herald editorial board interview Tuesday, saying even credible malpractice lawsuits can languish in courts for a decade before the victims receive a payout. He said his proposal would lead to quicker and cheaper resolutions.

A patient advocate on the panel would ensure fairness, he said, and the plaintiff could always appeal to a regular court.

On other issues, Martin argued that he was the most credible candidate to take on Durbin because he has run for political office before and he has media experience on radio and the Internet.

Martin said he also has no plans for how to ensure that Social Security remains viable, but he doesn't currently think private investment accounts are a good alternative. He also has no position on several comprehensive proposals to curb illegal immigration, a top issue in most Republican races.

"It is a problem for which a solution has not been arrived at," he said.