On the night she became the official Democratic candidate for president, Hillary Clinton’s healthcare experience came to the forefront.
For the first time at the political conventions of the two major U.S. parties-and perhaps the entire presidential campaign itself-healthcare took center stage for a brief moment.
On a night the Democratic Party celebrated the official nomination of Hillary Clinton as its candidate for president, speakers at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to highlight her healthcare achievements.
Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, called his spouse a “natural” to lead his healthcare reform task force, a major plank in the platform of his campaign in 1992. While the Clinton Administration’s efforts failed due to Republican opposition, the former president noted that Hillary Clinton “immediately went to work on solving the problems the bill sought to address, one by one.”
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Of utmost importance to his wife, was increasing health insurance for children, which culminated in the creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which CMS estimates currently insures more than eight million young people nationwide.
Echoing that commitment to improving healthcare, especially for children, was former Vermont governor and chair of the Democratic National Committee Howard Dean. When Bill Clinton’s administration failed to pass healthcare reform, Dean noted, Hillary Clinton did not quit, but instead “did her homework, she persevered, she never forgot who she was fighting for.”
Dean also cited the impact of having health coverage for millions of U.S. children. “That’s eight million children whose family doesn’t have to choose between paying the rent and visiting the doctor,” Dean said.
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Speaking to Clinton’s character earlier in the night, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) also referenced CHIP’s creation, noting, “we saw Hillary’s heart when, as First Lady, she worked across party lines to bring healthcare to millions of children.”
Dean also noted the progress under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), expanding insurance to 20 million more Americans, and the need to “elect the person who will finish the job.” He noted Clinton’s plan to drive down healthcare costs, to stand up to drug companies and lower prescription drug prices.
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“Hillary has a plan to take us that last mile and finally achieve healthcare for all Americans. That is what Hillary will do,” Dean said.
As for Clinton’s Republican opponent, Donald Trump, Dean said the real estate mogul’s only healthcare plan is to “rip up” the ACA and “throw 20 million people off their health insurance.” Dean mocked Trump’s alternative to Obamacare would be ‘something so much better…huge no doubt,” but lacking any substantial details.
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Dean also chided Trump’s running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, for his votes against expanding CHIP and requiring payers to cover mental health and addiction treatment, and “to end Medicare as we know it.” He noted a 1997 letter to the Indianapolis Star Pence authored, claiming that children with two working parents end up facing “stunted emotional growth.”
“I’m a doctor,” Dean said. “Let me tell you what actually stunts children’s growth. Not having access to healthcare. Inadequate funding for school nutrition programs. Guns [are] the ultimate public-health crisis.”
Earlier in the night, Ryan Moore of South Sioux City, Nebraska, who has spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia dwarfism discussed his 22-year relationship with Clinton, starting with his family’s trip to Washington, D.C., to advocate for healthcare reform. Ryan’s father, Brian, had recently lost his job after his employer was unwilling to cover multiple surgeries, hospital visits and other treatment.
“For me, quality, affordable healthcare was more than a privilege, and even more than a right,” Moore said. “It was an absolute necessity. I’m thankful that [Clinton has] kept up the fight over the years and I’m honored to call her my friend.”