“Health care is important to people,” Tom Guild said Monday.
Guild, a Democratic candidate for the 5th Congressional District, was the guest speaker at Monday’s meeting of the Canadian County Democratic Party.
Much of the focus of his nearly one-hour speech was on health care and the Republican Party’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. In particular, he focused on Rep. Steve Russell’s stance on the issue.
“Health care is important to people. Health care is life or death,” he said.
Guild said Russell, who current represents the 5th District, has taken a stance that he is opposed to a number of issues in the current Affordable Care Act, including capping the amount that an insurance company pays for health care as well as excluding pre-existing conditions.
“People are terrified on the receiving end of the nightly news or the daily newspaper where they are talking about cutting senior programs or cutting health programs or cutting nutrition programs or cutting access to health care or cutting Medicaid or cutting Medicare. … Our government is psychologically damaging and harming our people. They are being cruel,” Guild said.
The former college professor said that eventually the Affordable Care Act will be changed, likely going to a universal single-payer system similar to what other countries have. That would mean everyone would have coverage.
“That cuts out a lot of problems and paperwork,” he said while claiming that a universal system could save more than $1.5 trillion per year in overhead costs.
However, Guild said the ACA hasn’t been bad. The number of people without insurance coverage has declined from 18 percent to 9 percent.
“That is a good thing,” he said.
Guild also said his opponent has voted for tax breaks that benefit the wealthy, while voting against issues that help the poorest.
“I think it is more important to take care of people than to give a tax break that affects only .2 percent,” Guild said.
Guild also focused on the need to improve funding for education, both at the secondary and higher education level.
“What we have done is a scandal. We are not doing enough to keep our teachers here,” said Guild about budget cuts at the state Legislature.
He said supports a 7 percent tax on the production of oil and natural gas.
“We would still have the lowest GPT in the U.S. Where are the companies going to go?” Guild said.
While he supports an increase in the GPT, he is opposed to an increase in the fuel tax that is being proposed, saying it hits those in the low- to middle-income range the hardest.
However, he does support an increased income tax, especially for higher-wage earners.
“There are people with something to give,” he said, claiming that many of the highest earners don’t put money back into the economy. They put it into savings or invest the money, instead of boosting the economyt.
“They aren’t putting money back into the economy,” he said. “How about a little public service.”
Guild also had ideas about improving the economy and boosting employment.
He suggested that improving infrastructure would be a good place to start, much like the days of the Work Progress Administration.
“Roads, highways and bridges need repair,” he said.
Guild suggested creating a $1 trillion improvement fund at the federal level to handle those types of projects.
That would put people to work, Guild said.
A similar program was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of his New Deal program in 1935. It helped put Americans back to work in the heart of The Depression.
Guild said a similar program could work today.
“We are trying to give people hope,” he said. “That’s what I’d like to do.”
Guild is among the first Democrats to announce plans to seek the seat currently held by Republican Steve Russell.