Archive for Friday, June 10, 2011

Rep. Kevin Yoder speaks at LMH about Medicare, federal budget

June 10, 2011


Congressman Kevin Yoder was at Lawrence Memorial Hospital for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce&squot;s "Conversation with Congressman Kevin Yoder" Friday, June 10, 2011.

Congressman Kevin Yoder was at Lawrence Memorial Hospital for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce's "Conversation with Congressman Kevin Yoder" Friday, June 10, 2011.

Other than Medicare and health care, Yoder addressed several topics during Friday morning’s appearance at Lawrence Memorial Hospital:

• Proposal to extend the federal debt ceiling:

“If President Obama wants us to do that, then he needs to tell us how we’re going to pay it back. We can’t tax our way out of this. There isn’t enough money in the economy to raise taxes that much. To get where we need to be, we should be serious about reforming government, cutting out fraud and waste and making spending reductions.”

• Also said he favored the government freezing new regulations until the economy turns around:

“It’s a bad time because we’ve got to get businesses creating jobs again, and all those Environmental Protection Agency regulations and things make it that much harder.”

• Said Republicans should be willing to give ground in negotiations on types of spending cuts:

“As long as we can keep ourselves safe, I think we need to start looking at reductions in the Department of Defense and find waste. There’s waste there. Republicans in particular need to be willing to put some of the other things they fight for on the line in terms of spending cuts. That’s how you get spending cuts.”

Freshman U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., on Friday disputed a contention that a budget proposal by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would end Medicare, a popular narrative from congressional Democrats who oppose it.

“It preserves Medicare for those 55 and older, exactly the way it is today, and it balances the budget. Isn’t that a great thing?” Yoder said at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

Ryan’s plan would also provide a fixed payment for anyone age 54 or younger to purchase private insurance once they turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare. Health care costs and the federal budget were two major topics as Yoder addressed about 60 people at a Lawrence Chamber of Commerce event.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has criticized Yoder and other Republicans for supporting Ryan’s proposal. Democrats have also claimed the Medicare issue played a role in their recent victory in a New York special election for a House seat.

Yoder, a former Kansas House appropriations chairman and attorney from Overland Park, took office in Congress in January representing the state’s 3rd District, which includes eastern Lawrence plus all of Johnson and Wyandotte counties.

He said Friday that Ryan’s plan “heads us in the right direction” and called the status quo unacceptable. Yoder also mentioned health savings accounts.

“The folks on the left are being a little disingenuous when they say the Republican proposal to fix and preserve Medicare ends it,” Yoder said, “when they know that by doing nothing, they’re going to end Medicare as we know it.”

Gene Meyer, LMH’s president and CEO, said he worried Congress was not addressing problems with the delivery system of health care, including wellness incentives and the development of primary care physicians. He faulted both political sides and said every new position the hospital has created in response to the 2010 Democratic health care reform overhaul has to do with meeting regulatory demands instead of patient care.

“We have to change the delivery system in order to move forward,” Meyer said. “And I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet that provides that relief.”


Dan Eyler 6 years, 9 months ago

Nice job Kevin. Most of what you had to say seems to have a ring of common sense. If you can keep it at that level you win the argument in the end.

overthemoon 6 years, 9 months ago

I heard Rep Yoder on Steve Kraske's show on Wednesday. He is using debunked and absolutely wrong information in making his case for following the GOP agenda. And he doesn't care.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

“We have to change the delivery system in order to move forward,” Meyer said.

When the debate on Obamacare was going on, the majority of Americans supported some sort of universal coverage along the lines of Medicare/single payer for all.

But neither party would even consider debating such a system, largely because the money of Big Health said they wouldn't allow it.

What's your opinion on single payer/Medicaid for all, Mr. Meyer? Any reporters at the JW who might want to pose that question to him?

mloburgio 6 years, 9 months ago

This analysis shows the immediate and long-term impacts of these changes in the Kansas City metro area. The Republican proposal would have adverse impacts on seniors and disabled individuals in the region who are currently enrolled in Medicare. It would: • Increase prescription drug costs for 43,700 Medicare beneficiaries in the region who enter the Part D donut hole, forcing them to pay an extra $431 million for drugs over the next decade. • Eliminate new preventive care benefits for 522,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the region. The Republican proposal would have even greater impacts on individuals in the Kansas City metro area age 54 and younger who are not currently enrolled in Medicare. It would: • Deny 2.7 million individuals age 54 and younger in the region access to Medicare’s guaranteed benefits. • Increase the out-of-pocket costs of health coverage by over $6,000 per year in 2022 and by almost $12,000 per year in 2032 for the 552,000 individuals in the region who are between the ages of 44 and 54. • Require the 552,000 individuals in the metro area between the ages of 44 and 54 to save an additional $129 billion for their retirement – an average of $180,000 to $287,000 per individual – to pay for the increased cost of health coverage over their lifetimes. Younger residents of the metro area will have to save even higher amounts to cover their additional medical costs. • Raise the Medicare eligibility age by at least one year to age 66 or more for 304,000 individuals in the district who are age 44 to 49 and by two years to age 67 for 2.1 million individuals in the district who are age 43 or younger.

mloburgio 6 years, 9 months ago

2nd Congressional District in Kansas, which is represented by Rep. Lynn Jenkins.

deskboy04 6 years, 9 months ago

One way to cut spending would be to get out of Afghanistan.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 9 months ago

You so crazy! Everyone knows tax breaks to the richest of the rich are the answer to all our problems...

Phillbert 6 years, 9 months ago

“It preserves Medicare for those 55 and older, exactly the way it is today, and it balances the budget. Isn’t that a great thing?”

It would be, if it actually did that. The plan Yoder supports ends Medicare as we know it in order to give away trillions in tax cuts for the rich, and doesn't balance the budget for decades, if ever.

The Yoder plan would raise health care costs for the elderly dramatically because they'd lose Medicare's buying power (ever try negotiating one-on-one with your health insurer?) and then gives them a voucher that loses more buying power every year because it doesn't increase in value as fast as health costs.

As for taxes, which Yoder won't touch, if we take them back to the levels of the booming 1990s, the majority of our budget deficit goes away.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

Yoder is among the most uninformed mouth pieces available.

Yes the repubs want to do away with Medicare and turn it over to corporate elites. Those elites are the most common source of fraud against consumer taxpayers. There simply is no other source of fraud.

Paul Ryan's budget plan increases the debt by $6 trillion. Yoder hopes for more people like himself = not paying attention or in Yoders case it might be outright lying.

Turning Medicare over to corporate america finds health care dollars getting spent on:

  1. CEO salaries and stock options

  2. shareholders

  3. golden parachutes

  4. special interest campaign funds

  5. nonsense advertising

  6. nonsense bonus packages

  7. lobbyists

All of the above duplicates the most expensive and mismanaged medical insurance in the world aka the current medical insurance industry!

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

Allow IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for ALL to be available now to all taxpaying consumers and allow us to make the choice. The mechanism is in place as we speak.

The United States spends twice as much as other industrialized nations on healthcare – $8160 per capita – yet performs poorly in comparison and leaves over 46 million people without health coverage and millions more inadequately covered.

Let’s direct OUR tax dollars to fund OUR Single Payer medical insurance by our own choice.

Single Payer Medical insurance cannot get any better than this:

IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for ALL would cover every person for all necessary medical care 24/7 to include:

*IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for All leaves choice of doctors,clinics,hospital and services across the board to the consumer.

prescription drugs hospital surgical outpatient services primary and preventive care emergency services dental mental health home health physical therapy rehabilitation (including for substance abuse) vision care hearing services including hearing aids chiropractic durable medical equipment palliative care long term care

No deductibles No Co-pays

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would pay approximately $2,700 a year for all health care costs.

Allow IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for ALL to be available now to all taxpaying consumers and allow us to make the choice. The mechanism is in place as we speak.

Health care in and of itself will remain a private industry.

IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for All leaves choice of doctors,clinics,hospital and services across the board to the consumer.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

“It preserves Medicare for those 55 and older, exactly the way it is today"

Not really.

A. If this new scheme is such a great idea why not impose it immediately on those already collecting Medicare as well as those 55-64?
The truth is that the GOP would cease to exist immediately from the moment they enacted such a scheme.
The propaganda is that "time" (apparently a euphamism for draconian personal saving) is necessary.

Question: how do younger people save the moneypots necessary when (a) wages are stagnant to declining, (b) they have to fund their own current health care, growing at a 7-10% annual rate (for which the GOP has no answer), and (c) all while continuing to also pay taxes for current (and 55-64 year old) retirees, both now and until the last person now 55 years old finally dies? Answer: they can't and won't, leaving millions broke and burdens on government and charity in a nation whose wealth has been redirected from public benefit to private selfishness.

B. Without the promise of future benefit, this scheme destroys political support to continue Medicare "exactly the way it is today."

Why will younger people continue to vote to tax themselves to provide ClassA citizens with a generous benefit while being relegated themselves as ClassB citizens to a dim and hopeless future with few, if any, benefits? How would they afford to pay the taxes.

Note: this isn't a bug in the GOP scheme -- it's a goal!! Make it unpopular to keep Medicare "exactly the way it is today" and destroy the program in stages: today kill it for the young people; tomorrow kill it for the elderly. Divide and conquer!

In what future year will voters dump Medicare altogether?

Seniors have already demonstrated that they know the GOP--that's you Mr. Yoder--isn't being honest nor acting in the best interests of the people.

Republicans hate Medicare - they have from the day it was proposed, from the day it was enacted into law, and every day since. It's a socialist scheme that the people love - love - LOVE!.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

"it balances the budget. Isn’t that a great thing?"

Which budget?

This GOP scheme merely shifts funding burdens from a public budget to a hundred million private budgets.

It ends the insurance aspect entirely and places 100% of the risk on each and every individual. For some--20%? 50%?--this risk will occur, that is, the money will run out and the individual will personally be left 'holding the bag'. It literally is a death panel. A death panel with only one basis for judgment: do you have money?

Note: this plan does nothing whatsoever to make health care more efficient or cheaper. As a result, the U.S. as a whole cannot be any better off no may how costs are shifted around.

In fact, the U.S. is guaranteed to be poorer because we know that when people don't have money to pay for health care they cut out routine and inexpensive preventative care and thereby increase their the long-term health costs for themselves and the nation.

This GOP scheme will bankrupt America unless we literally start killing off elderly sick people. That's the harsh reality of this plan. We all know that in desperate circumstances people will rationalize even the most radical actions.

"It's better for them."
"They've already has a chance to live their lives."
"It's either them or the children." "We don't have the money. We'll talk further when I'm back from the Caribbean."

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

"that by doing nothing, they’re going to end Medicare as we know it."


A. First, we could choose to do nothing to the program and just pay higher taxes. This would be an extremely high tax level and uncomfortable. But let's be clear: we could do it if that's what our number one spending priority was. No one has recommended this choice, however, so Yoder puts up a straw-man argument.

B. We have already "done something" to address the real problem, which is health care expenses and costs. Just last year the Affordable Care Act was passed, which contains significant measures to contain costs and to make health care delivery more efficient, precisely so we can afford to pay for it. Yoder's aware of this -- he campaigned against it, demanding that this "do something" plan be scrapped.

In short: the GOP blows hot air and does nothing. The Democrats have already taken action and have programs in place and beginning the hard work of actually accomplishing something.

Note: unlike the GOP scheme, the ACA doesn't just shift costs from one person's pocket to another's but actually addresses a core problem with American health care -- we pay twice as much as any other nation on earth but without getting better care! This is a consequence of the inefficiency of the U.S. system.

How do you "pay for" Medicare? In part, you get a more efficient system. If the U.S. spent no more than the average amount spent in places like Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, or France, not only would we get the same quality of care overall, we'd have billions of dollars to spend on "paying for" Medicare. That's how much money is wasted in our current system.

Republicans complaining about paying for Medicare are like a family that "can't afford" to eat fruits and vegetables while running their a/c non-stop with the windows open all summer because doing so is exercising their "liberty"!

tomatogrower 6 years, 9 months ago

Let's see, they are gong to give a voucher, so that retired people can go out and buy insurance. So the insurance companies will be mandated to sell insurance comparable to what Medicare provides? Not going to happen. They are in the business for profit. They could care less whether your 90-year-old grandma gets proper medical care.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

"to purchase private insurance once they turn 65"

What insurance company sells insurance for elderly people, a population statistically overwhelmingly likely to incur signficant medical expenses?

Can Mr. Yoder point to a single insurer who says it has a plan to sell such insurance?

Why would any insurer agree to provide coverage to someone virtually certain to cost the insurer money - perhaps large, large! sums of money?

How expensive is insurance for a 90 year old with a long history of pre-existing conditions and a track record of running up major medical costs? (Seriously, why do I even have to ask this question given how obvious the implications of the answer are?)

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

"We can’t tax our way out of [our debt]. There isn’t enough money in the economy to raise taxes that much."


The federal tax burden is lower than at any time since Truman was President.

The tax burden is the U.S. is one of the lowest in the developed world! It is much lower than it was in the '50s, the '60, the '70s, the '80s, or the '90s! That's a fact.

Increasing the U.S. tax burden to that of Canada--itself below average compared to other developed nations' tax burdens--would instantly balance the budget by eliminating the deficit. Our we to believe that Canadians live lives of misery? That the Canadian economy, which routinely outperforms ours, is some horror? Maybe Mr. Yoder should visit Canada.

Yoder is either stupid or hopes his constituents are. The claim that "there isn't enough money in [a $15 trillion] economy" to increase revenue by 6.7% from a record low level is a certifiable lie.

People can favor or oppose any specific plan but everyone should be angry that Yoder would lie so brazenly.

Polling consistently shows that Americans' #1 preference for addressing the deficit is raising taxes on the wealthy back to where they were in the '90s - when the economy was great and the budget was balanced and taxes were still at a post-war low level.

No more tax welfare for the corporations and billionaires (the guys who pay Mr. Yoder).

No tax increase, no deal.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 9 months ago

It's too bad so many seniors got tricked into voting for this joker. He will hear about his vote next election and then he can say goodbye. Not a day goes by all across the nation that ryans/yoder/republicans lies are debunked.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

This Medicare things really reveals the internal contradictions inherent in today's GOP.

On one hand, we have an openly religious political party espousing Christianity.

On the other hand, we have a party openly worshipful of and proclaiming the doctrine of Ayn Rand.

One can be a Randian, or a Christian. But you can't be both. Any Rand despised Christianity and is diametrically opposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Thus, we're left with the vision of Yoder's dreamboy, Paul Ryan, running away from a Catholic group trying to hand him a copy of the Bible.

Kansan2011 6 years, 9 months ago

ITA. I'm dumbfounded that anyone can support this budget who has read the Bible and professes to follow Jesus' teachings. In my mind the two positions are diametrically opposed.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

It seems hard to believe but, just a decade ago, the deficit didn’t exist and there were surpluses as far as the eye could see. The United States was on track to eliminate the national debt altogether by 2010, making the country debt free for the first time in nearly two centuries.

Then 2001 happened. In fact, a year ago this week, George W. Bush’s tax policy became law, and to honor the occasion, Slate’s Annie Lowrey tried to “find something redeeming” to say about them. Alas, she came up empty, concluding that they’ve “been a failure in every conceivable way.”

Ten years ago this week, the policy’s conservative champions made bold predictions about what the tax cuts would do — massive job growth, vast new wealth, higher incomes, smaller government, and balanced budgets. None of these predictions proved to be even remotely true.


Until the GOP can accept this, provide an analysis of 'what went wrong,' and adapt their future proposals away from such snake oil, the Republican prospects are a bit limited.

The Bush tax cuts proved to be the biggest disaster in American history outside of war.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 9 months ago

Great yoder and the rest of the no caring republicans are stuck with their vote forever.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 9 months ago

The great part about the Medicare debate is when those who want to kill Medicare like Yoder accuse their opponents of "doing nothing".

A truly laughable assertion.

Every attempt by Mr. Yoder's "the left" to fix Medicare has been killed by folks like Yoder, including attempts to allow Medicare to save hundreds of millions by finally exercising its buying power and negotiating prices.

Mr. Yoder himself accused his opponent of wanting to end Medicare just last year. He, of course, just voted for the very thing he attacked his opponent for and much, much, much more.

overthemoon 6 years, 9 months ago

Its not just Medicare, but every single issue facing our country today, that exhibits the unbelievable obstinance and single mindedness of the Fox Party. They have one goal and one goal only and that is to make Obama a one term president. D--n any thing and any one that might suffer from this agenda. Funny thing is, folks are starting to awaken from the tea-party hangover and are rejecting the nonsense that is being presented as conservative 'plans'.

Kansan2011 6 years, 9 months ago

I think you are right about this -- anything to get Obama out. Maybe that is actually the crux of the whole matter. Besides greed, which only makes sense for some of the supporters, this is the only other thing I can think of that would be enough to compel a middle class person with children, aging parents, or anyone who has or knows someone who has lost their job during the last administration to support this agenda.

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