REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY
TO THE FAMILIES USA "HEALTH WATCH" EVENT
August 16, l994
|MRS. CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much.
Thank you. Thank you for gathering here today. I want to
thank particularly the carpenters, who have lent this site
and also lent their strong support to health care reform. I
want to thank CWA, who has also been there on the front lines
fighting for reform. I want to thank Families USA and its
leader Ron Pollack, and particularly Senator Harry Reid,
who's been one of the stalwart voices on behalf of health
care reform. Thanks all of you for what you are doing.
You know, we stand here in a rainy day, and we can
see the numbers ticking away behind us. We've already heard
the stories from three representative Americans about what
happens when you are not guaranteed health care coverage.
And it really is a question of security. Can you change
jobs? Are you able to take a new opportunity? What happens
when someone does get sick, and the fine print in the
insurance policy doesn't mean what you thought it would?
These three Americans, plus the ones standing
behind me, and literally millions and millions more
throughout America, know what it means every day to live on
the edge of personal security. And these more than 500,000
Americans who have lost their health insurance just since
last Tuesday when the Senate began debating, they would all
have a story to tell as well.
What we really need to focus on are the stories
behind those numbers, people who are working hard, doing all
they can, and still not being guaranteed health insurance.
Of the more than 500,000 Americans who have now lost their
insurance since last week, more than 150,000 of them are
children under the age of 18.
They are the children of families like Kathleen
Rogers (phonetic), who go to school every day, who go out and
play in the neighborhood, who pursue sports activities. But
their parents live in fear that their child may come down
with an injury or an illness that would not only devastate
their health but devastate the family financially.
Those more than 150,000 children under the age of
18, they did not ask to be uninsured. They did not buy any
health insurance. They have parents who lost their health
insurance for one of the many millions of reasons why that
Real reform will enable all children to have health
coverage and every parent to have the security that comes
from knowing that their children will be taken care of in the
event of illness or injury.
I feel the rain beginning to come down. Some of
you are not in a good position to get wet. I don't want
anybody getting sick at a health care reform rally.
(Laughter.) Heaven forbid. Especially somebody who is
uninsured, I don't want getting sick.
But I do want all of us to remember that as this
debate goes on, these numbers will continue to increase. The
number of the uninsured will continue to grow. But even
beyond that, the number of the insured, who cannot be
guaranteed they will be taken care of, will also continue not
only to grow, but, really, to eat away at our conscience as a
And above all else, let's remember the children,
the children who today are uninsured, the children who
tomorrow will be uninsured. Those children deserve better.
Let's give them real health care reform now.
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