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9th District hopefuls split on health law, defense spending
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Voters in the U.S. House District 9 heard from both the Democratic and Republican candidates during a congressional round-table event Thursday night.

U.S. House District 9 candidates Republican Doug Collins and Democrat Jody Cooley, along with U.S. House District 7 candidates Republican incumbent Rob Woodall and Democrat Steve Reilly, fielded questions from the Forsyth County Tea Party

Patriot Alliance, which organized the event, as well as audience members. About 50 people attended the event at the Forsyth County Administration Building in Cumming.

While the candidates differed on several topics such as the federal health care law, they also found some common ground, including the benefits of foreign aid, that there would be no benefit to cutting congressional salaries and that there should not be a constitutional amendment to outlaw sharia law.

The Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare, was a big focus in the questions.

Collins said the law essentially would add the population of a congressional district to the Medicaid rolls in Georgia.

“If you’re not sure how many that is, it’s close to 700,000 people,” he said. “Most estimates are somewhere around 25 percent of the total budget. We’ve got to continue to look at this. There are costs to this. You will pay for it and it does take away rights.”

Cooley said the measure is an effort to provide uncompensated care to counties and hospital authorities struggling “to change the mix between private pay and indigent care to control costs in a way that’s responsible.”

“It’s not perfect and it is problematic, but I’ll tell you one thing, repeal is the simple answer, but it’s not the best answer for the American people,” he said.

Asked about military cuts, Collins, a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, said the troops need to come home, but not because of spending cuts.

“To simply say that we can continue to cut is really not a good understanding of really where I believe the military is at and where our projection of power that we have to be in this world, because we are still the freest light of liberty to this world and we’re the people that they turn to,” he said.

Cooley said there’s “a lot of fat in the military budget.”

“Our future security is based upon the surgical expertise we have rather than forces on the ground,” Cooley said. “I think we’re fighting a political war in Afghanistan ... as opposed to a national security issue.

“I think there is an awful lot of money to be cut from the military budget.”

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