While the Democratic National Convention met, lawmakers joined union and consumer leaders at a separate forum in Boston to rally for universal healthcare coverage, even as the Kerry campaign avoided such politically charged terminology. "The employer-based system is impractical, and I don't think it will last," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) said at a healthcare forum sponsored by the Service Employees International Union and Families USA. During the event, Clinton and other high-profile Democrats faulted the Bush administration for passing a Medicare drug benefit that the Democrats said helps drugmakers and insurance companies more than seniors.
Meanwhile, Wednesday night at the convention, vice presidential nominee Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) pledged that a Kerry administration would lower insurance premiums and "sign into law a real patients' bill of rights." A spokeswoman for the Bush-Cheney campaign said Edwards was part of a group in Congress that rejected a similar bill because of a provision limiting damages in medical liability cases. -- by Jeff Tieman