Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Thursday, September 7

Democratic Congressional Candidates Announce Unified Stand on Health Care Reform - UPDATED WITH VIDEO

Yesterday I drove to Columbus for a stirring press conference on the Veterans Plaza outside the Ohio Statehouse, organized by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) [above at left] and the SEIU, at which Democratic Congressional candidates presented their unified health care reform agenda. Joining Kaptur at the press conference were [left to right] university administrator Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon), former Congressman Bob Shamansky (D-Columbus), law professor Lew Katz (D-Pepper Pike), and County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus).

Rep. Kaptur spoke first and introduced each candidate. City Councilman John Cranley (D-Cincinnati), public health physician Dr. Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill), minster Rev. Thomas Shaw (D-Wooster), law director Zack Space (D-Dover), former State Representative Betty Sutton (D-Copley), and State Senator Charlie Wilson (D-St. Clairsville) also join in the agenda but could not be present.

The blunt message of the event was the American health care system is fundamentally broken and must be reformed. Health care costs are skyrocketing while health benefits are being cut and family incomes can not keep up with rising health care burdens. George Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress have failed to address America's health care crisis, helping health insurance and drug companies but leaving Americans with higher costs, fewer benefits, and millions more uninsured.

Some of the alarming and undeniable facts that prove the system is broken are:
• 46 million Americans do not have health coverage.

• Uninsured adults, compared to insured adults, are less likely to receive recommended preventive services like Pap tests, blood pressure checks, cholesterol screens, and diabetes management.

• 57 percent of lower-income adults and 51 percent of sicker adults went without needed medical care, did not receive recommended tests or follow-up care, or went without prescription medications due to cost.

• Over the past 5 years, health insurance premiums for workers have grown 73 percent while wages have grown by only 15 percent.

• Nearly half of all Americans who file for bankruptcy do so because of medical expenses.

The Democratic candidates gathered to convey their resolve and unity, pledging to fight for reform based on these four principles:
Provide affordable coverage for all Americans. Families cannot keep up with rising health costs, much less pay for health care and save for other needs, like retirement, education or buying a home. Assuring affordable coverage for everyone is a moral imperative and the single most important social justice issue we face as a nation.
Control costs. Americans are already paying huge sums for the uninsured through expensive emergency room visits, higher premiums, and deductibles. In a system where everybody benefits from health care coverage, every one should pay for it and share in the responsibility for health care costs.
Guarantee choice of doctors and health plans. Reform must maintain the ability to choose one's doctor and other health care providers, and obtain coverage from a mixture of public, employer-sponsored, and private health insurance.
Expand preventive care. Prevention must be a national priority and everyone must be helped to take personal responsibility for their care.

Robin Wierauch concluded the speeches by talking about prevention. She served as a state certified Emergency Medical Technician for over five years, so she actually knows about the health care system from an insider's perspective.

This shot shows Weirauch, Shamansky and Kaptur talking before the even got started. Yesterday was the first time I had met these candidates in person, and Kilroy as well.

Here Weirauch is coloring in her district on the banner, which showed the districts of the candidates joining in the reform agenda in yellow.

This guy was there to videotape the event for Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Columbus), or so I was told. He's trying to hold his camera in an inconspicuous place, and he's looking over to see whether I'm taking his picture or just adjusting my camera. Yes, I was, and here it is.

UPDATE: Following is the first of two video clips from the opening remarks by Rep. Kaptur.

[NOTE: I have removed the embedded link, but the video is available here.]

Here is the second clip:

[NOTE: I have removed the embedded link, but the video is available here.]


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