CORNING – Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23) is criticizing his opponent for supporting Medicare for All healthcare, also known as Single Payer Healthcare.
On Wednesday Reed said his opponent in the 2018 mid-term election, Tracy Mitrano (D-Penn Yann), supports Medicare for All – something he and his campaign calls an ‘extreme liberal position.’
“Whatever label they’re trying to put onto it, it is essentially a socialistic, single-payer healthcare system that – to me, when you talk about Medicare for All – threatens seniors and results in destabilizing Medicare even further,” Reed said. “We all know I am committed to solving the Medicare problem and making sure that Medicare is here for generations. And given the recent reports that continue to show that Medicare is in an insolvent, bankrupt position, expanding Medicare to everyone in the country, to me, further jeopardizes the stability of that program and really could threaten seniors.”
“Tracy Mitrano will say and do anything to get elected,” added Abbey Daugherty, communications director for Tom Reed for Congress in a press release sent out on Oct. 11. “But she can’t hide her extreme liberal positions from voters. Tracy’s extreme agenda would bankrupt Medicare, threatening our seniors and literally cost taxpayers trillions.”
Despite Reed labeling Medicare for All as an extreme liberal policy, a recent poll by Reuters found that 70 percent of Americans would support it. WRFA asked Reed if the proposal, and proponents like Mitrano, deserved the “Extreme Liberal” label if it has garnered such widespread and mainstream approval.
“It’s concerning [Reuters] has been able to potentially message this in a way without actually attacking the substance of the proposal. Once seniors are aware that what they are proposing will cost $32 trillion, it will jeopardize their access to physicians, that it will destroy Medicare as we know it for themselves, those poll numbers are going to drastically change in my opinion,” Reed said.
The $32 trillion dollar number Reed is citing covers a ten-year period and comes from a study released in July by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia, a university-based libertarian policy center.
Reed also said that Medicare for All would be a socialistic program, and the government shouldn’t be involved with paying for and administering healthcare plans for all Americans.
Some have argued that the government already has other socialized programs in place – most notably public education – which all Americans benefit from. However, Reed said our country’s history of providing all residents with a basic education is a good example of an expensive program ruined by bureaucracy.
“We all support education, but if you look at the results of public education and the amount of money that we are spending, I think we need to get a creative new way rather than relying on government to solve these problems in their entirety,” Reed said, adding, “If you look at the results of our educational system, I think many people would agree that the investment leads to a poor return on those taxpayer dollars across the spectrum. So using education as kind of a poster child to say this is why we need government to run healthcare, I would just argue that we can do better than that.”
Earlier this year, Reed said he would be in favor discussing several reform proposals, including raising or eliminating the payroll tax cap on Medicare and upping the age eligibility for the program – meaning more people would have to rely on private insurance companies longer into their life before signing on to the government-subsidized healthcare plan.
“But bottom line: if folks want to deny the existence of the problem that the insolvency of Social Security and Medicare represent, that’s their choice,” Reed said in June. “But I’m willing to accept what I think is a foregone conclusion that if we do nothing, Social Security and Medicare will collapse and it will be devastating for millions of Americans that are caught in that situation.”
Mitrano has a different take.
“We cannot afford to have a president in this McCarthy-like era call these programs and these ideas – as Reed does also – ‘socialist’ or ‘like Venezuela.’ Those are scare tactics. What we need is ideas, thought, conversations and economists talking about it. We need people sharing their stories of what their healthcare experience is like to be in medical debt and we have the family business of Mr. Reed be in charge of collecting it. There’s something wrong in this district when we allow that kind of representative to be dictating healthcare, when he has that kind of family interest in the outcome of it,” Mitrano told WRFA in an interview that will be broadcast later this month.
Mitrano is referencing Reed’s family’s involvement with RR Resource Recovery – a family-owned business providing account and creditor management services. According to a 2016 article in the Buffalo News, Reed listed himself as partial owner of RR Resource Recovery on his 2012 financial disclosure form. His wife was also listed as partial owner of the firm on the congressman’s financial-disclosure forms from 2013 to 2017. She reportedly drew between $15,000 and $50,000 in salary for each of those five years. Reed’s 2017 financial disclosure form also says his spouse is the partial owner of Twin Tiers Medical Billing, described as his spouse’s partially-owned business providing account billing services for customers in Corning, NY. No income was claimed for that business.
WRFA will feature an election preview with interviews from both Reed and Mitrano later this month on Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 on our Community Matters program (5 p.m. Thursday, Noon Sundays on WRFA).