Dr. Kelli Ward addresses ACA at ASU Turning Point meeting

Republican Senate Candidate Kelli Ward discussed repealing the Affordable Care Act with Turning Point

Dr. Kelli Ward spoke about free market healthcare solutions Wednesday at ASU's Turning Point USA club meeting. 

Ward, a former Republican state senator, is running for Sen. Jeff Flake's (R-AZ) seat. She made an unsuccessful bid to unseat Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in 2016.

Ward received national attention following Donald Trump’s tweet saying it was “great” to see her running against Jeff Flake, calling the junior Arizona senator "toxic."

During the speech, Ward discussed the negative effect the Affordable Care Act has had on Arizonans. In 2017, Arizonans faced the nation's largest ACA premium increases, with the average benchmark plan surging 116 percent. 

“I think Obamacare is the biggest takeover of health care liberty and health care freedom that we will ever see in our lifetimes,” Ward said. “It destroys the doctor-patient relationship, and it seeks to destroy the art of medicine.” 

Ward has spent much of her adult life in the medical field. 

She practiced medicine for years as a family physician, was an educator at both of Arizona's osteopathic medical schools and was the director of medical education at Kingman Regional Medical Center. She also served just short of two terms in the Arizona Senate, resigning early to focus on her primary campaign against McCain.

“I will tell you, I’ve been disappointed in what’s happening in Washington D.C. with Obamacare,” Ward said. “My party dropped the ball as far as I’m concerned. They had eight years to prepare for what could happen, should we be able to control the House and the Senate and the White House.”

While discussing “fair market solutions,” she detailed her own “Patient Power Plan." She described the plan as a full Affordable Care Act repeal that revolves around health savings accounts and catastrophic care coverage without any government mandates.

“I believe that healthcare is a privilege,” Ward said. “I went into medicine to be a caring, compassionate healthcare provider. A healer. But I didn’t go into healthcare to be a government slave.”

Ward said "socialized" medicine makes doctors "government slaves" because it forces them to provide care under government-issued insurance, removing their right to chose what insurance providers they want to work with. 

“Just because someone wants or desperately needs what I am able to provide, they have no right, no right whatsoever, to take it from me,” she said.

Turning Point is a relatively new club on campus that focuses on free markets and limited government. Signs reading “Socialism Sucks” were displayed on the tables in the classroom during Wednesday's meeting.

TPUSA’s national website called the organization’s students the “community organizers of the right.”

The club's students had the opportunity to ask questions of Ward. Army veteran and ASU anthropology and history junior Coleton Von Roeder took the chance to ask about veterans health issues. 

He said that the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs office purposefully does not answer the phone and discussed his own struggle to receive proper psychological care during his transition into civilian life after serving multiple tours overseas. 

Then, Von Roeder singled out a group of VA doctors by their race and religion.

“Sorry, I am not a racist person but I have been screwed by this group of people so many damn times it keeps on happening," Von Roeder said. “You get a Hindu Indian sitting there that doesn’t even speak English that looks at the computer and wants to throw you the minimal care they want to give you. Because why? That is less money coming out of their pockets.

"They hire Vishnu or their cousin to continue their bureaucracy," he said.

Ward attempted to regain control by interrupting Von Roeder, but he persisted. Neither the meeting's moderators or any other audience members attempted to interrupt him.  

"(Van Roeder) has not been an involved or known member of Turning Point USA at ASU, nor does he reflect the organization and its values, which again are the promotion of personal liberties and free market capitalism," said a statement from chapter president Kaitlyn Wender. 

Ward condemned the remark but reemphasized a lack of services for veterans. 

“Obviously that is an inappropriate comment coming from one of our veterans who served our country who has had a lot of trouble getting the services he needs and deserves," Ward said after the meeting. 

Despite the interruption, Ward said she thought the meeting was a success. 

“I thought it was a great meeting, its always good to see the young people who care about the direction our country is going, who want smaller government, who want free market solutions, who want decreased taxes," Ward said. “Turning Point USA does a great job at doing just that.”

Reach the reporter at brookehanrahanreports@gmail.com and follow @brookehanrahan1 on Twitter. 

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