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Owens, Doheny spar in debate

— “I’ve heard from the business owners that Washington has run amuck with regulations,” he said, noting he supported the Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act, which makes it more difficult for government to impose new regulations that have a negative impact of more than $100 million on the economy.

Owens voted against the measure, Doheny noted.

“Excessive regulation slows down job growth and kills the spirit of those who create jobs,” he said.

Owens countered that he indeed supported reducing needless regulations.

Health care legislation was the most contentious issue of the debate, one of a series of three to be held for the candidates before Election Day.

“If elected, I will work to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Doheny said, prompting a chorus of simultaneous boos and cheers from the crowd. Owens voted for the Act in 2010.

Doheny said the legislation was expensive, would prompt employers to opt out of employee insurance plans, and put the power of health care into the hands of the national Independent Payment Advisory Board — while not addressing the issue of tort reform, which he said would reduce health care costs.

“Obamacare allows 15 unelected people to have complete power over our health care, and this is unconstitutional and I won’t stand for it,” Doheny said.

He also criticized the Affordable Care Act for its pending provision to impose a 2.3 percent excise tax on the revenue of medical device manufacturers, a major employer in the region.

Owens countered that he favored amending the Affordable Care Act rather than repealing it. He said it was vital to protect the health of citizens — by forcing insurance companies to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, by extending coverage for college students up to age 26 under their parents’ health plans, and by banning insurance companies from cancelling insurance of those who are ill.

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