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Rep. Biggert tackles issues with college students
By Melissa Jenco | Daily Herald Staff

U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert answers questions Tuesday from North Central College students on topics ranging from health care reform to national security.

 

Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

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Published: 4/7/2010 12:01 AM

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From health care to national security, U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert addressed a variety of topics on the minds of North Central College students Tuesday.

Biggert, a Hinsdale Republican, visited with about 40 students as part of a town hall meeting. Here is a sampling of what she had to say:

On how health care legislation will affect students:

Biggert said everyone will be required to have insurance, including many young people who may not feel they need it. However, they also will be allowed to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26.

She acknowledged the partisan divide over the legislation and quoted polls that show most Americans dislike it.

"We are all saying we want accessibility, affordability and quality of health care and we all believe pre-existing conditions should not force people out of their insurance. To me to change a whole health care system so dramatically, to change the whole system when 85 percent of people like their health care, is over the top," she said.

She would like to make sure small businesses can get some of the same discounts larger businesses do and also look at medical malpractice reform.

On how Congress can promote small businesses:

"There's too many barriers for small businesses and the worst thing you can do in a bad economy when there's a recession is to raise taxes," Biggert said.

On new laws that will send families directly to the government for student loans:

"I'm concerned there's not going to be the competition," Biggert said. "The government can borrow at probably a lower rate so they're going to take money out of that for health care and it's still going to cost students the same."

On full-body scanners at O'Hare:

"It is a dangerous world and we have to take whatever means necessary to protect everybody," Biggert said. "National security is our top priority so I'm going to say live with it."

On the tense atmosphere in Congress:

Biggert said the latest Congressional session was not as fair and open as it was promised to be and leaders on both sides of the aisle are becoming too polarized.

"As the American people speak with a voice that's been a wake-up call, I think this is going to change," she said.

On bias in the media:

Biggert is concerned by opinions creeping into news stories and the perception talk show hosts are party leaders.

"It troubles me they (the media) fan the fire a lot between the parties and I would say there are some biases," she said.

On budget troubles in Illinois resulting in teachers being laid off and programs being cut:

Biggert praised U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and lamented that Illinois will not receive federal funds in the first round of the Race to the Top program. But she also said there shouldn't be a national board of education and attributed the quality of schools in her district to local control.

"The state has not met its obligations," she said.