Clear division in Senate race over Affordable Care Act

Posted October 27, 2014 6:59 p.m. EDT

— As many of the ads attacking U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan are quick to point out, the North Carolina Democrat cast "the deciding vote" for the Affordable Care Act when it was debated in the Senate several years ago.

Hagan continues to support the controversial law, which some people call "Obamacare," but her two opponents in the election next week – Republican Thom Tillis and Libertarian Sean Haugh – back repealing it.

"I think, if a vote came to the Senate floor to repeal 'Obamacare,' I would vote for it," Tillis said. "It's one of the largest tax increases – single tax increases – ever implemented in the history of the UNITED STATES at a time when our economy is still staggering."

"I think Obamacare is totally the wrong direction," Haugh said.

Hagan said congressional Republicans have been "playing political games" with the law since it was adopted, and she said the time has come to stop and move forward with it, making adjustments as needed.

"Don't take us back to a time when seniors would pay more for prescription drugs, women would pay more for coverage," she said. "In particular, if you had a pre-existing condition – and everybody knows somebody who has a pre-existing condition – those people were out of luck (before the Affordable Care Act)."

Even though Tillis and Haugh want the law repealed, Tillis doesn't want it demolished, saying there are parts of the law he likes.

"I believe that dependent children under the age of 26 should be allowed to be on their parents' health care plan," he said. "I believe that pre-existing conditions, it probably makes sense to do it in a way that people can immediately get health care coverage and potentially avoid catastrophic loss from chronic conditions."

Haugh is not so generous when it comes to the law.

"It's basically corporate welfare for insurance companies and other medical-related industries," he said. "We can streamline a lot of the bureaucracy and actually make it work for both patients and providers."