Speakers Promote Health Care Plan Proposed by Democratic Presidential Nominee Sen. John Kerry
Presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) on Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention promoted a health care plan proposed by Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), who officially became the Democratic presidential nominee, the Los Angeles Times reports (Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 7/29). Kerry has proposed a plan that would cost $653 billion over 10 years and expand health coverage to an estimated 26.7 million U.S. residents. The plan includes the use of tax credits to finance coverage for low-income residents. Kerry has said that he would finance the plan through the repeal of tax cuts for families whose annual incomes exceed $200,000 (California Healthline, 7/28). According to Kerry, the plan would expand health coverage to 95% of U.S. residents (Kuhnhenn, Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/29). Summaries of the speeches by Edwards and Granholm appear below.
Edwards in his speech, which included his "two different Americas" theme, outlined plans that Kerry has proposed for health care and other issues, the New York Times reports (Toner/Seelye, New York Times, 7/29). According to the Chicago Tribune, Edwards received "resounding applause" when he discussed health care and the state of the economy (Zeleny/Scharnberg, Chicago Tribune, 7/29). Edwards said that hope for expanded access to health care "is on the way" (Balz/Romano, Washington Post, 7/29). He said that the Kerry health care plan would reduce health insurance premiums by as much as $1,000 for low-income families and ensure that veterans "won't have to wonder if they'll have health care next week or next year -- they will have it always because they took care of us and we will take care of them" (Edwards speech text, AP/Los Angeles Times, 7/29). However, Edwards did not detail how Kerry would address the "looming challenge of financing major entitlement programs" such as Medicare, the Post reports (Washington Post, 7/29). Edwards also addressed efforts by his opponents to use his professional history as a trial attorney to portray him as an "ambulance-chasing symbol of litigation run amok," the Los Angeles Times reports. He said, "For two decades, I stood with families and children against big HMOs and big insurance companies" (Los Angeles Times, 7/29). He added that as a senator, "I fought those same fights against the Washington lobbyists and for causes like the Patients' Bill of Rights" (Edwards speech text, AP/Los Angeles Times, 7/29). Edwards will officially become the Democratic vice presidential nominee on Thursday (Washington Post, 7/29).
Granholm, whose speech received "polite applause," said that the Kerry health care plan would reduce costs for employers, the Detroit Free Press reports (Christoff, Detroit Free Press, 7/29). She said, "The health of our nation is falling, while health care bills are rising," adding that Kerry has a "specific plan to make health care more affordable for small businesses and to expand health coverage to 27 million more Americans -- including every child in America." According to Granholm, "Affordable health care is a critical part of the prescription for what ails our economy. It's time to fill that prescription" (Granholm speech text, Associated Press, 7/29).
PBS' "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" on Wednesday reported on the speeches of Edwards and others at the convention ("NewsHour with Jim Lehrer", PBS, 7/28). The complete transcript of the Edwards speech is available online. The complete speech is available online in RealPlayer. Expanded PBS coverage of the convention is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.