Democratic Candidates Push Health Care in Campaigns
Summaries of several recent developments in the presidential campaign related to health care appear below.
- Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.): Dodd on Thursday in Iowa began to air two television advertisements, one of which features two actors who portray barbers and "take swipes" at a proposal by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to expand health insurance to all U.S. residents, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports. In the ad, the barbers watch a TV ad about the Clinton proposal. One barber asks, "Is that a new plan?" The second barber replies, "The only way you're going to get health care passed is to bring Democrats and Republicans together." The barbers conclude, "Why not Dodd?" (Glover, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/1).
- Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.): Edwards on Wednesday received the endorsement of the New Hampshire chapter of the Service Employees International Union, which represents a large number of health care workers, amid concerns about the validity of the vote, the AP/North County Times reports. Gary Smith, president of the New Hampshire SEIU chapter, told Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) that he had received the endorsement after an Oct. 23 vote, but, after a second vote on Tuesday that included members elected during the week, Edwards received the endorsement (Elliott, AP/North County Times, 11/1).
- Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.): Obama on Thursday after a rally in Durham, N.C., refused to answer questions from reporters but responded to a question about health care from 5-year-old Hadassah Jones, the AP/Chronicle reports. Obama outlined his health care proposal for Jones and cited the need for high-income U.S. residents to help those who cannot afford care. He said, "We've got to make sure that people who have more money help the people who have less money," adding, "If you had a whole pizza, and your friend had no pizza, would you give him a slice?" (Baker, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/1).
Leaders of the groups involved with Divided We Fail, a campaign that seeks to focus the 2008 presidential election on health care and financial security issues, on Thursday said that the effort has prompted candidates from both parties to address their concerns, CongressDaily reports.
AARP CEO Bill Novelli said that most candidates have announced health care proposals and that the campaign will continue through the general election to ensure "what we've got is a presidential winner who is committed to health care reform and retirement security."
Todd Stottlemyer -- president of the National Federation of Independent Business, which joined the campaign this week -- said, "Small-business owners, their employees and dependents make up the largest segment of the uninsured population, and we simply can't say that health care is our top priority and be content with the stalemate over reform."
Other groups involved with the campaign include SEIU and the Business Roundtable (CongressDaily, 11/1).