Our health care system is broken, and H.R. 676, the Conyers-Kucinich bill, is the only comprehensive solution to the problem. It is also the system endorsed by more than 14,000 physicians from Physicians for a National Health Program. Nearly 46 million Americans have no health care and over 40 million more have only minimal coverage. In 2005 some 41% of moderate and middle income Americans went without health care for part of the year. Even more shocking is that 53% of those earning less than $20,000 went without insurance for all of 2005. In fact, the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine estimates that 18,000 Americans die each year because they have no health insurance.
The American health system is quite sick. Pulitzer Prize journalists Donald Barlett and James Steele, in their stunning analysis of the health care industry, Critical Condition (2006 Broadway Books), insist that "... U.S. health care is second-rate at the start of the twenty-first century and destined to get a lot worse and much more expensive." Considering the following facts from Tom Daschle's article for the Center for American Progress: "Paying More but Getting Less: Myths and the Global Case for U.S. Health Reform":
In the past three years, the U.S. has subjected the world community to a doctrine of preventive, unilateral, and illegal first strikes against "forces of evil" that have not attacked us. America has maintained into perpetuity an obsession with overwhelming U.S. military superiority. We have insisted that everyone else adhere to rules of international order that we have no intention of following ourselves. We have demonstrated a contempt for international organizations and any multilateral constraints whatsoever on the employment of American power.
All of this has estranged and frightened our allies and provoked enduring enmity in the councils of other governments and the hearts of citizens around the world. George Bush's foreign policies have made us new foreign enemies. George Bush's defense policies have weakened our defenses. George Bush's responses to 9/11 have made future 9/11s more likely to occur.
I see a new vision for American seniors. I see a country where all citizens can retire with full benefits at age 65, where social security will never become privatized, and where retirement years won't land in the hands of the stock market. I see an America where equal access and equal rights are obtained by all; where health care is regarded as a human right; and where the people who have lived to see this country grow can continue to grow old with it in peace.
I encourage programs that support the public good, such as community-based senior services and home care. We must stop the predatory lending practices that have victimized so many American seniors, while simultaneously establishing a federal Office of Elder Justice. Rights for the disabled are fundamental rights, for which I continue to fight.
Why have a Republican House and Senate never even offered one vote proposing a Constitutional Amendment banning abortion? If the issue were truly important to them as anything but a wedge issue, they would have. The truth is that Republicans have hidden from an honest up or down vote on abortion and will never allow one to take place in the Congress. Instead, they will continue fooling well-intentioned voters who feel strongly about abortion that they "feel their pain," when clearly they do not. Even if the Supreme Court were to do the unlikely and return abortion to the states, it would merely mean that the rich could travel to blue states for abortion, while the poor would have less access to terminating their pregnancies.
The EPA under the Bush Administration has stood for Every Polluter's Ally. The air and the water and the land are viewed by this administration as just another commodity to be used for private profit. We as a nation must turn our efforts towards the great work of restoring our air and our water and our land. We must view our natural resources as the common property of all humanity -- even more, as the commonwealth of all humanity. And so my candidacy arises from a philosophy of interdependence and interconnection, which respects the environment as a precondition for our survival.