Tuesday, September 18, 2007
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the issue of health care, the three leading candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination are all on the same page: the wrong page, Democratic candidate and Ohio Congressman said today.
“There isn’t one iota’s difference between the plans put forward by Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, and former Senator Edwards because they all keep the for-profit health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies in control of the health care system,” Kucinich said. “The only thing ‘universal’ about their plans is that they universally fail to address the real reason 47 million Americans are uninsured and another 50 million are under-insured: for-profit insurance companies get rich by gouging people and by not paying for health care.”
Kucinich is the co-author and co-sponsor of a bill (HR 676) that would establish a national, not-for-profit health insurance system that would guarantee coverage to all Americans, including medical, dental, vision, mental health, long term care, early child care, and preventative health services. Under the Kucinich plan, there would be no premiums, no deductibles, and no co-pays, and no denials of services. The legislation has been endorsed by the 14,000-member Physicians for a National Health Program, the California Nurses Association, labor union locals, and award-winning film-maker Michael Moore, whose “SiCKO” documentary is a scathing indictment of the for-profit health care industry in the U.S.
“If you don’t have the courage to take on the insurance and pharmaceutical industries,” Kucinich said of the other Democratic candidates, “don’t try to fool the American people by pretending to offer real reform. The Clinton, Obama, and Edwards plans will ensure that for-profit companies remain in control, and they will be rewarded and enriched with federal subsidies to reduce the prices they charge. Instead of gouging the consumers, they’ll be gouging the taxpayers.”
Kucinich also objected to the “mandates” proposed in the three plans. “These candidates want to force individual citizens and employers to buy health insurance, using the promise of tax credits to make the coercion more palatable. We shouldn’t be mandating that people buy private coverage, we should be guaranteeing coverage for our citizens like other enlightened industrialized nations do.”
Kucinich noted that Americans spend more than $2 trillion a year on health care, and upwards of $600 billion covers costs that have nothing to do with care: profits, dividends, exorbitant salaries, executive compensation, stock options, advertising, paperwork, and coordination and duplication of services among the many private companies.
“Take that money out of the pockets of the for-profit companies and put it into providing a national health care plan that covers everyone for everything,” Kucinich said. Comparing and contrasting the differences among the Cinton, Obama, and Edwards plans “is a phony debate,” he charged. “If they’re afraid of offending their campaign contributors from the for-profit health care industry, or they’re concerned about whatever personal investments they have in that industry, they should be honest about it and just say so.”
He continued, “I can’t be bought, and I can’t be bossed, and that’s why I’m the only candidate willing and eager to challenge the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. The sooner we get the profit out of the system, the sooner every American can have access to comprehensive health care. It’s a right, and this nation has a moral and social responsibility to provide it.”