As support for single-payer healthcare gains momentum among Democrats in the U.S. House, Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas blasts the idea as a “nightmare” scenario that must be prevented.
In an opinion piece published this week by Fox News, Yoder frames the Republican-backed American Health Care Act as a necessary alternative to the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act, a plan which has now been co-sponsored by 112 of 193 House Democrats, including Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City.
Yoder describes the Democratic plan, which raises taxes in order expand Medicare to cover necessary medical care for every U.S. resident as "socialized medicine."
“This should send shivers down the spine of any tax-paying, Constitution-loving American,” Yoder said.
Funding for the Democratic plan would come from a slight increase in income tax as well as new taxes on self-employment income, unearned income, and stock and bond transactions. However, Yoder in his op-ed references an Urban Institute study done on a similar plan proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. That study concluded a single-payer healthcare system would cost $32 trillion in ten years.
According to Yoder that would raise taxes to 79.2 percent in the top tax bracket and 50 percent for those making $38,000 per year while removing access to choice in healthcare.
“In America, we value choice, competition, and access to care,” Yoder said. “In socialized medicine, those luxuries would be gone.”
Yoder also alludes to financial strains, extended wait times and doctor shortages that have plagued the United Kingdom's National Health Service in recent years.
Rep. John Conyers, Democrat from Michigan, authored the bill and said in an interview with Sidewire that it would ultimately save money for the country and reduce the amount spent on healthcare.
“When I say "America spends more than the rest of the world on healthcare" it means we're all paying too much, even though many wealthier people are spending a smaller percent of their income on healthcare than the poor,” Conyers said.
Yoder held off publicly supporting the American Health Care Act, delaying a decision on his vote until the last minute. He now appears to be showing strong support of it. He claims it is the best alternative to single-payer and will lower costs and increase care.
“The house has laid out one pathway to save American health care,” Yoder said. “Our country must unite in our opposition to the nightmare of socialized medicine.
Senate leaders, including Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, have said they hope to vote on its version of the American Healthcare Act by the end of June or early July.
Katie Bernard is an intern at KCUR 89.3. Kyle Palmer is KCUR's morning newscaster.