Remarks by Rep. Tammy Baldwin to the Democratic National Convention
FDCH E-Media, Inc.
Monday, July 26, 2004; 10:05 PM
The Remarks by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) to the Democratic National Convention in the FleetCenter, Boston, Mass.
BALDWIN: My name is Tammy Baldwin, and I proudly represent the hardworking people of south-central Wisconsin.
Almost six years ago, these Wisconsinites first elected me because we share a vision: affordable health care for every American.
Only one candidate for president shares that vision, and that is why we must elect John Kerry.
John Kerry believes, as we do, that health care is not a privilege for some, but a right for every American. John Kerry knows that accessible health care is a cornerstone of a safe and strong nation.
John Kerry will make affordable health care the priority that we need it to be.
In Wisconsin and in every corner of the country, the American people are sending that message loud and clear. And we hear you.
BALDWIN: We hear Al Beale of Monona, Wisconsin, who wrote me to say, "Where I work, our insurance premiums have doubled. The insurance and drug companies are out of control. They are taking us to the cleaners."
Well, Al, John Kerry won't sit back and watch while premiums rise four times faster than workers' wages. He's got a plan to cut down the premiums, cut out the waste and cut off the special interest groups that put corporate profits before patient care.
We hear Roy Shores of Madison, Wisconsin, who stopped by my office to leave a copy of an insurance claim showing a charge of $2,979.50 for a single injection. Talk about a shot in the arm.
Roy, when John Kerry's president, he'll put a stop to the abuses, control spiraling health care costs and pass the savings on to American families.
We hear Amy Knipschield of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, who told me that her 67-year-old mother has to pay $300 to $400 every few months for her prescription drugs.
BALDWIN: Amy, as president, John Kerry will negotiate with drug companies, not for them.
He'll get us real discounts. He'll add comprehensive prescription drug coverage to Medicare. And he'll eliminate loopholes that keep affordable medicines off the market.
We hear Emily Beebe of Stoughton, Wisconsin, whose husband runs a small auto repair shop. They're trying to afford health care for their family -- including their two young children -- as well as their workers. In one year, the Beebes paid their HMO almost $40,000 in premiums.
She wrote, "This is more than we typically earn in one year. It is getting to the point where we will have to choose between daily necessities and health care."
Emily, John Kerry is a parent, too. And when he's president, we will cover every child in America, period.
And he understands the problems of small business owners, such as the Beebes. So his plan offers help to pay for the cost of coverage for them and their workers. John Kerry wants all Americans to be able to enjoy the same great health care that Members of Congress and their families enjoy. And he'll guarantee that right to family health care benefits to all our families, including domestic partners.
We live in an age of medical miracles. Perhaps the greatest of them all lies right in the heart of my district at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
BALDWIN: It was there, in 1998, that Dr. Jamie Thomson and his team of researchers successfully established and sustained several lines of embryonic stem cells in a laboratory. Scientists believe that these stem cells may unlock the treatments and cures to our most debilitating illnesses and injuries: Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, heart disease, spinal cord injuries, diabetes -- an "enemies list of ailments" that we could potentially eliminate or ease.
But in order to satisfy the far-right wing of his party, our current president is holding these stem cells -- and all that they promise -- hostage.
When John Kerry is elected president, he'll waste no time in lifting the restrictions on stem cell research. He'll put our people's health over his political health, and that's the kind of president we deserve.
The most sacred tenet of the Physicians Oath is "First, do no harm." But every day, Americans are facing great harm: workers who can't afford their premiums, small-business owners who can't provide benefits to their workers, seniors who can't afford their prescriptions, families who can't see their doctor of choice.
If our leaders can promise health care for all to Iraq, why can't we do the same here at home?
We hear you, America. And we say, when we talk about health care, there's only one candidate for president who listens, one candidate who hears us, one candidate who will make high quality health care affordable for all. So when we talk about health care, we must also talk about and do all that we can to elect as the next president of the United States John Kerry.
© 2004 FDCH E-Media