ELECTIONS ’88 ORANGE COUNTY : Kimbrough and Rohrabacher Disagree on Health Care

Times Staff Writer

Huntington Beach Democrat Guy C. Kimbrough, a candidate in the 42nd Congressional District, said Wednesday that “it is a crime” that millions of Americans are denied adequate medical treatment because they can’t afford it.

Calling for some sort of federally sponsored health-care program, Kimbrough told a group of students and faculty at Golden West College that in a country with a $4-trillion economy, “it’s about time we find a health-care program.”

A conservative, Kimbrough said he favors an approach that draws upon “both the private and public sector.”

Large and mid-size companies, he said, should be required to provide health-care insurance, with the federal government ensuring that all Americans have minimum coverage “so no one goes without proper care.”


Kimbrough’s opponent, Dana Rohrabacher of Palos Verdes Estates, told the same group that he opposes any new federal health-care plan that would add to the nation’s budget deficit. However, an aide said later that Rohrabacher would support tax incentives for corporations that provide health-care coverage.

In one of their few joint appearances in the low-key race, Kimbrough and Rohrabacher spent almost an hour fielding questions in a large lecture hall on the Huntington Beach campus.

Locked in an uphill fight, Kimbrough is scrambling to overtake Rohrabacher in the coastal district, which stretches from Huntington Beach in Orange County to Torrance and the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County.

They are vying for the seat held by Rep. Daniel E. Lungren (R-Long Beach) in a district where Republicans hold a decided edge in voter registration. Lungren did not run for reelection, instead making a bid to become state treasurer, which was unsuccessful.

Kimbrough and Rohrabacher also differed over the federal deficit.

A political science instructor, Kimbrough said he would support a tax increase on imported oil, cigarettes or liquor. He also favors a “value added” tax of 1% to 5% on consumer goods.

Rohrabacher, a speech writer for President Reagan, opposes any tax increase, particularly on imported oil because he said it would drive up prices at the gas pump. To reduce the deficit, he said, Congress should “hold the course” on Reagan’s economic policies, which he contends have lowered interest rates, boosted the nation’s productivity and generated more revenue for the country.