Challengers debate health care

    Congressman Joe Sestak and former congressman Pat Toomey are going head-to-head over health care tonight.

    A pair of Senate hopefuls at either end of the health care debate are meeting up for a town hall this evening in Allentown. Conspicuously absent is their main opponent — and the senator who may have the most say on reform — Arlen Specter.

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    Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak and Republican challenger Pat Toomey don’t agree about health care reform. Sestak is in favor of a public health insurance option, while Toomey favors tax breaks for buying private plans. But the two do have one thing in common. Chris Borick, a professor at Muhlenberg College, is moderating tonight’s town hall.

    Borick: They have one striking commonality. They both want to beat Arlen Specter…But it will be interesting to see how they relate on a one on one forum. It should be a very engaging night.

    Borick says the meeting may focus more on the candidates than their positions.

    Borick: When this race ends, the issue of healthcare reform may be fairly settled. So a lot of the discussion tonight will be I think to identify the broader stance of these two individuals as candidates for public office. What approaches do they want?

    Specter was not invited to the town hall. Borick says Sestak and Toomey may see that exclusion as beneficial to their competition. Specter may have more influence on health reform than either candidate, especially if Congress passes a reform bill before next year’s Senate race.

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