Sen. Hillary Clintons call for universal health coverage and consensus on Capitol Hill energized a crowd of delegates and union members at a healthcare forum that lasted nearly three hours at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.
Hosted by healthcare consumer group Families USA and the Service Employees International Union, the event showcased a horde of Democratic gubernatorial and congressional leadersincluding Govs. Kathleen Sebelius (Kan.), Deval Patrick (Mass.), Ted Strickland (Ohio) and Edward Rendell (Pa.), as well as former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, current House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell of Michigan, and Rep. Hilda Solis of Californiato unite and rally supporters committed to changing healthcare in America.
It is easy to make speeches, but, believe me, it is harder to translate those words into action, said Clinton, the forums closing speaker, who apologized for arriving late to the event.
Clinton said the only way to achieve healthcare reform is through consensus, and, to prove her point, said she is not wedded to the health plan she outlined as a Democratic candidate for president. The former first lady, along with Daschle and Sebelius, offered the most substantive remarks of the morning. Threatening to throw something if he heard one more time that the U.S. has the best healthcare system in the world, Daschle said thats not true, and that a healthcare system must be created. To do this, healthcare stakeholders must understand the problems: namely access, cost and quality; destroy the myth (that the U.S. has the best system); build a framework; and stay on the offensive, forcing those who prefer the status quo to explain why they think the current system is working.
Each speaker assured attendees that reform will take place in an Obama administration. Dingell, who entered the stage with the aid of crutches, called it a scandal that there are 45 million Americans without healthcare coverage. Obama will be a great president but he cant do it alone, Dingell said. Hes going to need a Democratic Congress in the Senate and the House. -- by Jessica Zigmond
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