THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Independence, Missouri) ______________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release July 30, 1994
REMARKS BY THE VICE PRESIDENT AT HEALTH SECURITY EXPRESS KICK-OFF
Truman Courthouse Independence Square Independence, Missouri
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you so much, Alan Wheat, my friend and my former colleague in the House of Representatives; a man of great integrity and great ability. And he and his wife, Yolanda, have been good friends to Tipper and me.
Incidentally, I want to say to Alan and to all of his opponents in the primary campaign that will be decided on Tuesday -- I want to say to every single one of them equally, when the results come in Tuesday night, whoever is the winner, all who are Democrats supporting all of these candidates need to come together in unity for victory to win Harry Truman's Senate seat this November. (Applause.)
I want to acknowledge with respect Governor Mel Carnahan and his wife, Jeanne. It is great to be with you, Governor. And the Governor will be coming up to the microphone in just a moment when I complete my remarks. And he's going to give a distinctive Missouri presentation on why this is all so important and so critical.
I want to thank and acknowledge Mayor Ron Stewart and Mrs. Stewart, Mayor Emmanual Cleaver. (Applause.) And also, Tipper acknowledged the Eight To One Group singing the National Anthem. I want you to all join me in a special expression of thanks to one of the greatest singers who ever lived -- Willy Nelson -- and members of his band. (Applause.) Thank you very much, Willy, we appreciate it.
To all of the state and county elected officials, to all of the candidates in all of the other races next Tuesday, and distinguished guests: You know, I was listening to Rachel Caruthers and her mother, and I was really moved by what she had to say. Rachel really symbolizes why we need universal health care reform.
And I was interested that when this 16-year-old girl, who has shown such tremendous courage, talked about what she has gone through in her life and what it means to have to cope with a health care system that forces her mother not to look for a high-paying job less she lose her care -- and as Rachel was starting her presentation, that crowd down the street starting booing her. And it made me realize how completely out of touch they are with the people of this country. (Applause.) Unbelievable.
And a little bit earlier, a little bit earlier when somebody said -- oh, it was the First Lady mentioned the fact that President Harry Truman had introduced the first national health care plan, they booed Harry Truman, right here at Independence, Missouri. They hated Harry Truman. They fought him then. They're fighting his ideas now. But we're going to win. You just watch. (Applause.)
The American people are going to win because this is an idea whose time has come.
I read in the newspaper that when the bus riders arrived here in Independence, the same crew down here circled the buses and started a chant. And what they chanted was, "No health care. No health care." Once again, that kind of demonstrates that they're just a little bit out of touch with what the American people believe. (Applause.)
The First Lady talked about how fortunate she and President Clinton have been to have a daughter who is healthy. Tipper and I have also been very fortunate, and we thank God for that good fortune and for God's blessings. But when one of our children was injured seriously and we spent time in the hospital with him, helping to bring him back to health, we got to know an awful lot of other parents whose children were in the beds on the other side and down the hall, who lost their jobs, who had their lives destroyed, whose marriages were broken up because of the enormous stress of not being able to cope with the health care system that fails American citizens.
Harry Truman fought for it. For 50 years the American people have wanted it, have dreamed of it, have tried hard to get it. And now, because of the leadership of President Bill Clinton, because of the work of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, because of the subsequent work of the leaders in the Congress who took the original ideas and made changes and came up with a new bill that preserves universal coverage but gives improvements and points the way to an opportunity to have this showdown vote this year -- because of all that and because of you, this year, in 1994, Harry Truman's dream is going to come true, and we're going to have universal health care for Americans. (Applause.)
And I want to echo what Tipper said in thanking Missouri's Dick Gephardt in leading the way in the House of Representatives; and George Mitchell for leading the way in the United States Senate. There will be another plan up there, and it's what we don't need. It's Bob Dole's plan that cripples the middle class, that hurts the middle class.
Let me tell you about the Dole plan. It keeps insurance companies squarely in charge of all the decisions about health care. It gives the insurance companies the final say on what gets covered and what gets left out. You hear these protesters -- well, it's hard to hear them, really, but if you hear what they're really saying between the lines, they're saying, keep the big insurance companies in charge, keep the big insurance companies in charge. That's really what keeping the status quo means -- more Americans lose their health care coverage and the expenses go up and the insurance companies are in charge.
The Dole plan hurts small businesses and helps out only the largest corporations. The Dole plan delays -- even delays 100 percent deductibility until the next century. It gives nothing for long-term care, nothing for prescription drugs. And the Dole plan tells insurance companies that it's perfectly all right for them to charge older Americans up to four times as much as they charge younger Americans. It discriminates against older citizens.
We're not going to have that. We're going to tell Senator Dole that that plan doesn't cut it, because his plan also discourages work and encourages welfare -- because it sends a message to people who have medical expenses -- he says, don't get a job because you'll lose the health care benefits that you get from Medicaid. And most importantly, the Dole plan really hurts middle-income American families.
There are 18 million working families in the work force who currently do not have health insurance. Under the Dole plan, 16 million of those 18 million families would still be left without any health care coverage. That is not what working families deserve in this country.
Let's just face the facts. What this issue is all about is very simple. The poor have many problems, but because of the Medicaid program, the poor have health care. The wealthy can purchase their own health care. They always have, and they'll always be able to. But if you are a middle-income working family, you are left out. You are in danger of losing your health care just like 40 million working Americans already have. If you get arrested and go to jail you'll get health care. If you quit your job and go on welfare, you'll get health care. If you win the lottery and earn a million dollars in it, you'll get health care.
But if you're a middle-income family. It's time for that to change. It's time for universal health care coverage. (Applause.)
Now, there are people who don't pay very close attention to this, and they say all those plans are just the same; just pick one, either way it turns out the same. It kind of reminds me of a story that my friend, Governor Ned McWhorter from Tennessee tells about the veterinarian and the taxidermist who decided to go into business together. And they put a big sign up on the front of their business that said, "Either way you get your dog back." (Laughter.)
It makes a difference which plan is passed. And you understand which plan Dole's plan is. He wants to -- well, I won't use that line. (Laughter.)
But let me say this: The President and the First Lady have taken on all the crowd that fought Harry Truman. They've taken on the special interests. They've taken on the know-nothings. They've taken on the group that chants, "No health care." They've taken on the group that boos Harry Truman. And they have been fighting for middle-income American families. That's always tough.
When Harry Truman was President, he took on the tough ones. And his public opinion poll ratings went down below 20 percent, because he was using everything he had to try to get positive changes for the American people. The one fight that he didn't win, the one fight that is still there to be waged is the fight that brings all of us here together today. It is the fight for middle-income American families for universal health care. Let's win that fight this year. (Applause.)