By Andrew Mundhenk, Times-News Staff Writer
Hendersonville urologist Dr. Scott Donaldson has thrown his hat into the U.S. House of Representatives 11th Congressional District race.
The Democrat plans to run against McDowell candidate Phillip Price, and any other candidates who surface in the primaries, before taking on incumbent Republican Congressman Mark Meadows in the mid-term elections.
Donaldson, 53, has been a urological surgeon in Hendersonville since 2002. Prior to that, he worked in Burlington, Raleigh, New Orleans and New Zealand. He has a radio program on WTZQ called “Just Sayin” and has published a book.
Not surprisingly given his profession, Donaldson said health care reform is the issue he cares about the most. He said there needs to be a unified effort, an overarching structure, to provide a basic level of care for all citizens. Talking with his colleagues in the health care field, he believes there needs to be some sort of single-payer system.
“There’s front-door and back-door access to health care,” he said. “Front-door access, you go through the front door and get treated. You know you’ll be treated. You’ll have no barrier of treatment due to your inability to come up with $100, $1,000, or the presence of an insurance card.
“Right now we have access, but if you don’t have the cash or the insurance, you go through the back door,” he added. “And that’s where the care is not organized for chronic conditions. It’s kind of herky-jerky care. We need to have everyone in our system go through the front door.”
Donaldson criticized Meadows, who chairs the House Freedom Caucus, for his failure to compromise on health care reform. He said the congressman doesn’t want to provide health care to everyone, just making insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield happy.
He said the current setup run by private, for-profit institutions is not about providing health care for the people of North Carolina and the U.S.; it’s about making money. He believes it’s in the government’s charter to care for the citizens of its nation; first-world countries that provide health care to citizens have longer life expectancies.
Donaldson said his stances on most issues fall in line with the Democratic Party. He said he will advocate strongly for individual rights including equal pay for men and women, gender rights and LGBT freedoms.
For military issues, including veteran suicide and PTSD, Donaldson said the best way to take care of American veterans is to quit making veterans. He believes the country needs to disentangle itself from foreign military intervention.
“You break a man’s brain, there’s not enough money in the world to fix it,” Donaldson said. “I’ve dealt with veterans my entire professional career. You break a brain, it’s done.”
When it comes to education, Donaldson said he’s a believer of the public education system and local control. He is against national standardized tests, having taken 23 in his lifetime. He believes control should be shifted away from the federal government to local school districts.
“Buncombe County kids have different issues than Henderson County kids than Madison County kids,” he said. “These districts ought to be freed up to not only study how the kids come through school, but what they’re doing three, four, five years down the road.”
He believes in a simplification of the tax laws and the Warren Buffet rule that would apply a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on individuals making more than $1 million a year.
Donaldson said he will have a harder time winning the primary against Price, but would fare better in the general election against Meadows. Donaldson said Price has an advantage, as he has lived in six counties within District 11 during his lifetime. But Donaldson has established himself in Henderson County, he added, and you need to win Henderson County to win the district.
He strongly opposes Meadows and the tea party, saying they are the problem. He added there are more people in the district than it may appear who are upset with Meadows for bieng “unresponsive to the wishes of his constituents.”
Donaldson ran unsuccessfully in 2010 for the Henderson County Board of Commissioners.
For more information about Donaldson’s campaign, visit his website at www.scottdonaldsonforcongress.com.