Dana Balter supports universal healthcare – John Katko does not

John Katko Dana Balter

As the November election fast approaches, Covid-19 has intensified voter anxiety about the state of U.S. healthcare.

Last night Robert Harding of published a review of Republican Rep. John Katko and Democratic NY-24 challenger Dana Balter’s healthcare position. The differences could not be more stark.

Harding reports that Balter supports a Medicare for All plan that will ensure the full health coverage of all Americans. Balter’s plan, which will allow for a private health insurance marketplace, will lower the age of Medicare eligibility to 55, will enroll newborns at birth to ensure coverage, and will allow anyone of any age to buy into Medicare.

“The experience we are having right now in this public health crisis demonstrates why that is so important,” Balter tells Harding. “Because it’s not only about me and my health care. It’s recognizing that if you, my neighbor, the person that I share my community with, don’t have access to good health care, it puts not only you in jeopardy but it puts me in jeopardy too.

“We have a vested interest in ensuring that everybody who shares our community has access to good, quality affordable care.” 

Balter states that Rep. Katko has yet to state that healthcare is a human right.

Katko supports repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and voted for the Republican-sponsored American Healthcare Act of 2017. The bill would eliminate Obamacare and jeopardize protections for pre-existing conditions currently available with the ACA.

Katko claims to solve the pre-existing conditions issue by creating high-risk pools for the unhealthiest 10% of those insured. The high-risk pool concept has been floated by Republicans for years and economists are nearly universal in their opinion that the cost for individuals assigned to these pools will be so exorbitant as to make the insurance virtually unaccessible without drastic governmental support.

Ryan Burt, a high-risk pool expert who observed Minnesota’s HRP pilot program told NPR’s Scott Simon, “The result was a significant need for outside funding, and the state decided that the best way to do that was to create an assessment upon the insurance industry to help subsidize the cost of the claims that were paid.”

By Burt’s accounting, only increased taxes (Minnesota chose to tax private health insurance) or government intervention can sustain a high-risk pool plan.

Katko’s claim that he supports protection for pre-existing conditions is dubious. He tells Harding that universal health coverage will harm seniors and raise taxes.

So Balter is correct. John Katko has yet to state that healthcare is a human right. And it would seem that he never will.

Click here to read Robert Harding’s full article at

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