Congressional candidate Dr. John Redwine will continue to protect human life, vowing during a campaign stop in Storm Lake to fight against human cloning and "destructive" embryonic research.
"I believe it is unethical to do that type of research," Redwine said Saturday morning at the Lakeshore Cafe. "I've been a defender of life all my career as a family physician before I got into the legislature."
Redwine is one of four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Iowa's 5th Congressional District, which covers 32 counties in western Iowa stretching between the Minnesota and Missouri borders.
The three other Republicans seeking the nod include current Iowa Speaker of the House Brent Siegrist and businessman Jeff Ballenger, both of Council Bluffs, and State Senator Steve King of Kiron.
Redwine said his opposition to human cloning and destructive embryonic research comes from more than two decades as a family physician.
He currently is sponsoring a bill in the Iowa Senate that would ban human cloning and destructive embryonic research. The bill does not ban in-vitro fertilization, the use of fertility drugs, or non-human research.
While some in Redwine's own field have spoken against banning embryonic research, most notably stem cell research, Redwine said the same research can be done using umbilical tissues and adult stem cells.
"It is something those supporting this kind of research don't like to say," he said.
He said no research being conducted in the state would be affected by the bill. He also said no projects are underway at the University of Iowa.
His leadership on the issue as a state legislator would benefit him as well in Congress, he said.
"I am the only candidate in this race to manage pro-life legislation through the Iowa legislature every single session in which I served," he said.
Another issue close to Redwine's heart is Medicare reimbursement. Currently Iowa ranks dead last in the nation for Medicare reimbursement per beneficiary.
"It's very important, especially when people don't have access to a service," he said. "It's a huge issue."
He feels he would be in a good position to address the issue with his healthcare background and as chair of the Human Resources Committee in the Senate. As well as being a family physician, Redwine has been a vice president with St. Luke's Regional Medical Center.
"People don't understand how (the reimbursement rate) affects them and how it affects what services they receive," Redwine said.
Iowa ranks dead last in reimbursement, but 8th in quality of care, he noted, while Louisiana ranks 49th in level of care, but number one in reimbursements.
Redwine said the current Medicare reimbursement system is anti-competitive and makes it difficult to attract medical specialists to the state.
Changing the reimbursement method is "pure politics," Redwine said.
"It's a matter of getting enough votes with the 434 other Congressmen," he said. "It's a matter of assembling a coalition of representatives and raising national awareness. We can make enough noise to get this fixed."
A possible solution would be adding new money to the program to help narrow the reimbursement levels between states.
Also, Redwine pledged support to establish a VA Clinic in Storm Lake.
"I believe in providing medical care where patients are," he said.
Congressman Tom Latham has been pushing for a clinic for several years. He will no longer represent the 5th District after Congressional districts were redrawn last year by the state legislature.
Redwine said his success as a state senator influenced him to make a bid for Congress, which can be time consuming with the Iowa legislature in session.
"Campaigning for Congress is a second full-time job," he said.
Campaigning will pick up as the June 4 primary approaches. The primary will narrow the number of Republican candidates from four to one.