Kevin Yoder gets humiliated, goes silent during health care debate

Kevin Yoder

Kevin Yoder

U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder last week fortunately suffered a humiliating failure in his long-time goal of repealing Obamacare, made worse by his betrayal of public trust.

The three-term politician was suddenly incapable of publicly explaining what he wanted to do about an issue he had campaigned on since 2010.

(UPDATE: On Monday, Yoder still refused to further discuss his position.)

Yoder’s embarrassing setback should raise hopes in Democratic circles that they can get a qualified candidate to run against this conservative Republican in 2018.

Yoder in the last few weeks talked privately to many local health care professionals who wanted him to vote against the American Health Care Act.  Brenda Sharpe, president and CEO of the nonprofit REACH Healthcare Foundation, was one of those signaling a note of alarm about Yoder’s possible support for the GOP’s heartless plan.

Yoder would be “out of step with the business and industry leaders in Johnson and Wyandotte (counties) that have typically supported him in the past,” she said.

Writing for The Kansas City Star, reporter Lindsay Wise relentlessly pursued Yoder during the final few days of debate over the AHCA.

Yoder never said how he would vote on the measure. Instead, he left the heavy lifting to aides:


That’s just a spineless cop out from a public official.

Yoder has made it one of his top tenets that Obamacare must be “repealed and replaced.” He’s taken political shots at it while reaping large campaign donations from conservative groups and supporters in return.

Yet when push came to shove, Yoder couldn’t tell the people of the 3rd District exactly what he wanted to do with the bill.

When it was all over Friday afternoon, and House Speaker Paul Ryan had pulled the bill from a vote, Yoder presumably breathed a sigh of relief. He would not have to be exposed as someone who wants to take health care away from people (voting “yes” on the AHCA) or as someone who would betray his beloved conservative causes by voting “no.”

But don’t let Yoder off the hook. He still looked like a miserable failure on the No. 1 issue he has talked breathlessly about. Consider the buzzwords Yoder strung together Friday afternoon to make it look like he’s ready to work for a real solution.

Wise reported that “Yoder declined interview requests on Friday, both before and after the vote was nixed.”

Yoder can run from public discourse as long as he wants. But as he hides, a positive thought might occur to more 3rd District voters: Putting someone new in Yoder’s seat in 2018 could be a very viable option.