Democratic candidate for Missouri's 4th congressional district, Renee Hoagenson, made a stop in Sedalia this week to discuss her position on healthcare leading up to the November 6 election.

Mrs. Hoagenson has been campaigning for over 18 months and says she decided to run for Congress, "out of frustration of watching our public officials ignore the public."

"Our government was designed to be an organization that paid attention to and create an environment in which people could do well," Hoagenson said.

Healthcare is a key platform for Hoagenson, saying its the number one issue people ask her about on the campaign trail, especially in Pettis County. She added, "the current Congress is basically working to get rid of pre-existing conditions protections."

Hoagenson indicated healthcare could become more expensive if pre-existing conditons are not protected under insurance plans. She noted that the 4th congressional district is not a wealthy district, saying Congress is also attempting to cut Medicare, Medicaid and disability, which is something she is hoping to change. She supports expanding Medicare to all people, "by negotiating prices and creating a national formulary for medical costs, as well as pharmaceuticals."

She echoed a need for making healthcare sustainable, indicating the U.S. has the most expensive healthcare in the world, saying, "our outcomes are last compared to the rest of the world." She explained that citizens age 64 and under are last in healthcare outcomes. But when comparing U.S. citizens age 65 and over to the rest of the world, "we're the healthiest people in the world. That tells me Medicare is a world class system," Hoagenson said.

She added, "almost every other country in the industrialized world provides basic healthcare for their citizens." She would like to see the age for Medicare lowered until everyone has access to it, saying "its an incredibly inexpensive program to administer and its a viable solution and avaiablle." She believes the main reason it hasn't been administered, "is literally a matter of political will."

Hoagenson contended that lobbying laws would have to be curtailed for the country to implement a Medicare-for-all program. She also wants to see campaign finance reform and redistricting reform, all of which would lead to her overarching goal, "to get the government back on track to serve the people of the United States and by extension, will help solve our healthcare problem."

She concluded by saying, "If our Congress is only working for the people of this country, and not big donors, special interest groups and lobbyists, we're going to have a lot easier time creating legislation and working across the aisle for the American people."

Hoagenson lives in Columbia and works on her magazine, Showcase Sedalia. She is running against Republican incumbent Vicky Hartzler and Libertarian Mark Bliss in the November 6 midterm elections.

Ryan Skaith