U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam talks health care, tax bill, gun control

CRYSTAL LAKE – U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam has begun a new role leading a congressional subcommittee focused on health as he continues a bid to hold his seat in the 6th Congressional District.

Roskam, R-Wheaton, met with the Northwest Herald Editorial Board on Thursday to discuss the subcommittee and health care, gun control and tax reform. He represents Illinois’ 6th Congressional District, which stretches from the Crystal Lake area to the Naperville area and covers parts of McHenry, Lake, Kane, Cook and DuPage counties.

Roskam’s seat is up for election this year, and seven Democratic candidates are vying to challenge him for the spot.

Democratic candidates running in the March primary include scientist and engineer Sean Casten of Downers Grove; Becky Anderson Wilkins, co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshops and a member of the Naperville City Council; College of Lake County Trustee Amanda Howland, who lost to Roskam in the November 2016 general election; regulatory attorney and Clarendon Hills resident Jennifer Zordani; Palatine resident Ryan Huffman; Barrington Hills plan commissioner Kelly Mazeski; and Carole Cheney of Naperville.

On the health committee, Roskam said he has heard numerous accounts from proponents and opponents of the Affordable Care Act. He said there are people who say ACA saved their lives, but there are other people, particularly business owners, who say it’s costly and driving them out of business.

“It has become a zero-sum game enterprise,” Roskam said. “Some people have benefited, but it has come at the expense of others.”

He added that there are core principles of health care in America that should be kept in place as changes to the system potentially are made. Those included a free-market model, innovation and medical technology and pre-existing conditions protection.

When asked whether he would support various gun control measures that could come down the pipeline, Roskam said he would support some actions such as a ban on bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic guns to fire more quickly.

He added a focus on behavioral health care and stricter guards on who has access to guns are needed to prevent mass shootings such as the deadly incident in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 17 people and injured more than a dozen others.

“There is a rage out there that is significant,” Roskam said. “The Florida case is particularly heartbreaking. The community did the right thing as far as the people that were hearing and seeing things were communicating to law enforcement. … The FBI didn’t follow its own protocols. It’s a disaster.”

Roskam stood behind the controversial tax reform bill that some say offers more benefit to corporations and the wealthy than it does for the average taxpayer.

Roskam called the bill one of the “most significant things” that has passed Congress “in quite some time” that already is showing positive local impact.

“I think moving forward we are going to see more and more of the type of growth that is so significant structurally,” he said.

He added that the increase in standard deductions and allowable $10,000 deduction from state and local taxes, would help families in the sixth district.

“When you evaluate this every which way … people [in the sixth district] come out winners,” he said.