Kucinich Takes Them All On
Statement by Dennis J. Kucinich, Democratic Candidate for President.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Thursday, September 20, 2007
DAVENPORT, IA - In a debate sponsored by one of the nation's leading private insurance sales organizations, AARP, five Democratic presidential candidates unanimously voiced opposition to a single payer national health plan, Medicare for All. The only presidential candidate to author such a plan, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, was not invited to the debate, despite the fact that he has run ahead of or even with three of the five candidates on the stage in Iowa.
"They all decry the plight of the American people and then they turn around and promote the very system which is driving people towards ill physical and economic health, bankruptcy and death: the for-profit health insurance system," said Kucinich. "They do not believe they can get a consensus for change in Congress, yet there was no demonstration of any intention to change the system, despite the fact that 47,000,000 Americans have no health insurance and another 50,000,000 are underinsured."
"There is a national movement in support of HR 676 backed by tens of thousands of physicians, hundreds of union locals and community groups, 77 members of Congress and many state political organizations," said Kucinich.
"This event was not a debate. It was an audition to determine who would work the hardest to protect the interests of the private insurance companies," said Kucinich. "By that measure all on the stage earned the affection of the insurance industry. If I had been on the stage AARP would have had to spend millions more lobbying Congress to keep a for-profit system in place. Instead they heard from Senators Clinton and Edwards who both want to force Americans to buy private health insurance policies. They call their plans universal. They are giving Americans a universal shaft, guaranteeing insurance companies huge profits while at the same time decrying the plight of middle class Americans who are trapped in rising premiums, copays and deductibles."
According to Open Secrets, AARP is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington. They spent over $36 million alone in 2005 lobbying Congress. In 2003 AARP was instrumental in the passage of the Medicare Part D legislation which created a windfall for the pharmaceutical companies, letting Big Pharma name the price Medicare would pay for drugs. Medicare's fiscal solvency was seriously damaged. Recently, AARP signed a sales and marketing agreement with Aetna and United Health which would bring AARP $4.4 billion over seven years. AARP also sells reverse mortgages to senior citizens, which encourages the elderly to take the equity out of their homes.
"AARP's job is to keep seniors locked into buying a variety of insurance and private health care products, where under my plan seniors would not need any private insurance at all. HR676, Medicare for All means the beginning of an honest, accessible and cost-effective system of health care for the American people and American businesses. It is the end of for-profit health insurance," Kucinich said. "No more premiums, copays or deductibles. America already pays twice per capita what other nations pay for health care, but Americans are still not covered. Americans aren't getting the care they are rightfully entitled to because the debate is controlled by private insurance companies. I intend to change that. My candidacy is rallying the American people to the cause of their own health care," said Kucinich.
"Welcome to the new Democratic Presidential debate. A debate of the Washington lobbyists, by the Washington lobbyists and for the Washington lobbyists. To top it off, if was covered by public television," Kucinich said. "I took Medicare for All to the Democratic Platform Committee in 2000 and it was rejected by the Gore campaign. In 2004 it was rejected by the Kerry campaign. Both times Democratic leaders openly confessed they were not willing to try to take on the health insurance industry by advocating Medicare for All." Kucinich said. "The same thing happened tonight at the debate. These candidates do not even want to try. They are either too afraid or too compromised. If they can't lead on this, they can't lead on anything."