LANSING, Mich. (AP) — After relentlessly criticizing Democrat Gary Peters for his support of the federal health care law, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land is outlining her own ideas about health care while also embracing some elements of the four-year-old law.
Land on Monday said patients should have more control over their medical spending and decisions with pre-tax health savings accounts. She got behind permitting insurers to sell policies across state lines, an idea backed by Republicans to expand access and contain costs.
The former Michigan secretary of state said she opposes forcing people to have insurance under the law but also supports parts of the measure such as keeping intact protections for people with pre-existing conditions and requiring hospitals to publish a list of their standard charges.
"There has to be a better way," Land said in a statement released in conjunction with putting the proposed principles for "real healthcare reform" on her campaign website. "I favor a different approach."
She is locked in a tight race with Peters, a third-term congressman, to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin.
Land, who said nearly every promise of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul has been broken, has tacked to the right on the health law. She signed a conservative pledge to oppose any funding to implement the law and said she would have voted against legislation ending the partial government shutdown in the fall.
Pointing to Land's past push to defund the law, Peters spokeswoman Haley Morris said Land would "cut access to preventative health services like mammograms, cancer screenings and prenatal care and ... let insurance companies go back to dropping people's coverage when they get sick." She also criticized Land for not mentioning contraceptive coverage or letting young adults stay on their parent's health plan until they are 26.
Though Republicans have derided Obama's law by voting some 50 times to repeal, gut or change the Affordable Care Act, they have been unable to unify around a credible alternative.
Peters, who voted for the health law in 2010, last week voted for a one-year delay in the penalty that individuals will have to pay for failing to sign up for insurance.
While not outlining many specifics, Land said doctors should provide patients with better information about costs before treatment and added that small businesses and individuals should be able to buy insurance as a group. It was unclear how her plan would differ from current state-based insurance markets, or exchanges, that the White House contends will make premiums more affordable through increased purchasing power and competition.
Land's announcement was the first in a series of policy positions she is planning to add to her website.
Peters last week attacked Land for opposing the federal auto bailout for General Motors and Chrysler. Democrats have noted that Land opposes Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's decision to expand Medicaid to low-income adults through the health law.
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