The two face each other in Tuesday's election, with the winner elected to a six-year term.
Grassley, 83, a six-term incumbent from
Judge, 73, a former
Grassley said the tax issue, retirement age thresholds and benefit levels would be among the points of discussion in finding a workable solution. Judge said she would oppose attempts to privatize
When moderators for the hourlong debate -- carried live on two
"Obamacare is a disaster. It must be repealed and replaced. I don't know how my opponent can support it as the disaster that it is," Grassley said.
Grassley said he would keep protections for pre-existing conditions and allow children to stay on their parents' plan up to age 26, but he would end the employer mandate, encourage health savings accounts and implement medical malpractice reform.
Judge said the Affordable Care Act is off to a "good start" by benefiting 50,000 Iowans who did not have health insurance coverage and were being treated by high-cost emergency room visits.
She said she would preserve the positive elements and make "some corrections" to strengthen the program, "not use it as a political football."
"We need to put down the politics and make it work," Judge said, noting it is not unusual for a new system to undergo adjustments to correct problems.
She and Grassley said they would allow competition for health insurance across state lines, and Judge said she would make sure rising costs were not due to excessive executive salaries "gouging" the system.
Grassley countered that if Obamacare "is so great," why are millions of Americans still uninsured, and those with insurance are seeing premiums spiral out of control with double-digit rate hikes?
Turning to the economy, Grassley said he would support pro-growth measures to lower an uncompetitive corporate tax, cut individual income taxes and look to expand exports that provide good-paying jobs. He also said his early work on the wind energy tax credit paved the way for a new industry supporting 7,000 jobs in
Judge contended many people besides Grassley deserve credit for expanding
For her part, Judge said she favored raising taxes on America's richest 1 percent so they pay their fair share and increasing the federal minimum wage, which Grassley opposed.
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