Elect 2012: Motsinger, Peller in favor of government health care

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 18, 2012

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — Rowan County voters will see a new race on the May 8 primary ballot pitting two Democratic health-care providers against each other for the chance to take on Republican U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx in the fall.
For the first time, Rowan County is part of the newly drawn 5th U.S. House District, which includes about a third of the county north of Salisbury.
Neither Elisabeth Motsinger, a physician’s assistant, nor Dr. Bruce Peller, a dentist, has run for Congress before, although Motsinger has served on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board since her election in 2006. Motsinger lives in Winston-Salem, Peller in Pfafftown.
Both want the federal government to find a way to provide health care for everyone, and both support the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
But if the U.S. Supreme Court topples all or some of President Obama’s sweeping healthcare reform bill, Motsinger said she wants Congress to put a single-payer health system back on the table.
“Medicare for all,” Motsinger said.
Peller called the Affordable Care Act “very flawed” but salvageable. He said he believes the Supreme Court can and should leave the act intact, and defects could be corrected through legislation.
Any part of the law that will not cut health care costs needs to be revamped, he said. The law offers valuable changes to the current health care system, including the ban on pre-existing conditions, he said, but “it needs to be fine-tuned.”
As a small businessman with an MBA who provides health care, Peller said he has the training and experience to make necessary changes to the health care law.
Both Peller and Motsinger want to decrease the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and boost the use of sustainable energy sources.
Coal and nuclear plants are targets for terrorists, Motsinger said. A walkable community with its own local energy system and self-sustaining economy is “the safest thing in the world,” she said.
“If Washington D.C. was attacked tonight, you could wake up tomorrow and function,” she said. “I’m putting the focus on small, local economies again.”
While many people blame politicians for rising gas prices, Motsinger said fuel costs have more to do with the market than energy policy. But the country must start looking for alternatives to oil, she said.
“It’s been a national topic of conversation for 40 years without actually doing anything,” said Motsinger, who drives a Prius hybrid vehicle.
The federal government should help by funding more public transportation, encouraging companies to allow employees to work from home and forcing car manufacturers to increase the fuel efficiency of new vehicles, she said.
Peller said he believes the U.S. Department of Justice needs to do more to investigate potential price gouging.
“The gas companies are gouging people,” he said. “Prices are going up and down, and it’s not necessarily because of supply and demand.”
Peller, who drives a 1990 Mercedes and 2006 Volkswagen, said he believes strongly in developing alternative energy sources. Despite the failure of Solyndra, which received a $528 million loan from Department of Energy and then declared bankruptcy, the government should invest in companies developing green energy, Peller said.
“Investing in green energy is an extremely smart way to bring on energy independence and job creation,” he said.
Both Peller and Motsinger said they plan to visit Rowan County several times before the primary. Peller is scheduled to speak tonight to the Rowan County Tea Party.
Peller said Motsinger is an extremist and pointed to her arrest in September at the White House during an organized protest of the Keystone XL pipeline project. Motsinger and her husband were fined $100 and spent several hours in plastic handcuffs, then were released.
Motsinger said sit-in protests, a form of civil disobedience, are a “long and honored American tradition.”
Motsinger serves on the National Steering Committee for SolEd Partnership. She attends Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Winston-Salem.
Peller volunteers with Give Kids a Smile and the Community Care Center and provides dental care for the homeless. He is a member of Temple Emmanuel in Winston-Salem.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.