Press release from Clinton/Gore Campaign
Text of Clinton's Remarks to National Breast Cancer Organization
To: National Desk, Political Writer
Contact: Jeff Eller of Clinton for President, 501-399-3840
LA GRANGE, Ill., July 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following are the
remarks of Gov. Bill Clinton delivered to the Y-Me National
Breast Cancer Organization here Tuesday:
Thank you. Thank you very much. I want to thank all of you for
being here today. I want to say how much I appreciate the warm
welcome you gave, not only to me, but to Carol Mosley Braun, and I
hope you elect her to the United States Senate.
I flew in here today from a long way away. I came all the way from
northern California and I'm very sorry the plane was a little late,
and we got here a little late, and I'm grateful that you all
waited. We're going to have a -- apparently you were supposed to be
here before I was supposed to be here, so I feel bad about that,
worse about that.
Let me talk just a minute about the subject that I came here to
visit with you about. And then we're going to, kind of, open the
floor to questions. I don't know exactly how that was worked out,
but I try to do as many conversations with the American people as
Hillary and I, and Al and Tipper Gore went all across a lot of
America, including southern Illinois, on our bus tour recently. And
we had massive crowds of people. But everywhere I went, I tried to
spend as much time as I could answering questions and shaking hands
with people in the crowd, and talking to people about their
But there is an issue that I want to emphasize here today. That's
why I was so glad to be invited here to this hospital, and to be
associated with this Y-Me group. And that's women's health. I have
been very concerned about this issue for a long time.
For those of you who don't know it, there is a vast inequity
in our country in the research that's been done, in the way
it's been done on health issues. And women have had their particular
concerns grossly underfunded. The research protocols, even on
illnesses that affect both men and women, have been overly-tilted
toward tests on men, and as a consequence, there are many areas
in which women's health concerns have not been adequately addressed.
Breast cancer is perhaps the most obvious, the most painful, and
the most sweeping. Those of you watching the Democratic Convention
heard me say that my own mother has had breast cancer, and is
recovering from that and, I think, doing quite well.
But in addition to that, there are problems of ovarian cancer,
problems of osteoporosis. A whole range of problems that this
government has not adequately addressed.
Recently the United States Congress finally passed a bill to do
that. A bill that was supported, among others, by such conservative
Republicans as Strom Thurmond, and let me tell you, I just want to
give you an idea of the broad range of support it had, and Ronald
Reagan's director of health and human services, who was himself a
doctor. And Mr. Bush vetoed it anyway, because of the fetal tissue
research provisions. That bill contained three hundred million more
dollars for breast cancer research alone. I would have signed it,
and as President, I'll help Y-Me meet their goal.
I want to talk to you a little bit about this issue in a broader
context, because people are always saying, "Well, how are you going
to pay for these things?" We're spending thirty-five billion
dollars on defense research and development. We know that's going
to be reduced. As it is reduced, we should put all of that money,
all of that money into research and development for building an
economy and a society for the twenty-first century, and into
medical research and development into new technologies. We can do
that. We can do that.
Beyond that, I have to tell you that having worked as hard as I
could for twelve years in one of America's poorest states to
generate new jobs, educate children, solve health care problems, I
have become absolutely convinced that this country can never be
what it ought to be, unless we find a way to join the ranks of the
other advanced nations of the world in controlling health care
costs and providing a basic package of affordable health care to
Every time I say that, people say, "Oh, that sounds good, but you
can't do it without a massive tax increase." Your nation today is
spending thirty percent more than any other nation on earth, as a
percentage of our income on health care, and getting less for it.
Because we spend too much money on things that are not related to
direct health care.
Ask the people who run this hospital. Ask any doctor. The average
doctor spends thirty percent of income or more on paper work. The
average hospital is hiring clerical workers at four times the rate
In the United States of America, the insurance companies of our
country take more in administration and profit than in any other
country in the world. If we just reach the average that the
European nations have, we'd have another sixty billion dollars a
year to put into basic health care for Americans. Sixty billion
dollars in insurance reform and administrative reform.
One other thing we've got to do is to provide a basic pattern of
health education, and primary and preventive health care to all
Americans where they live--in cities, in rural areas--so that we
spend more money keeping bad things from happening.
In the first hundred days of our administration, Senator Gore and
I will send to the United States Congress a plan to provide basic
comprehensive health care to all Americans, and to control the cost
of health care. And we will break the logjam in Congress, and pass
But we are not going to do that by putting the brakes on research.
We should be spending more money in research, more money on breast
cancer research, more money on osteoporosis research, more money on
cancer research generally, and a whole range of other areas. We
should be spending more money to fully fund the Ryan White Health
Care Act, to deal better with the enormous problem of AIDS.
Let me say that most Americans still have not come to grips with
the threat that AIDS presents to all of us as a people. The rate of
AIDS is growing rapidly among women, at a breathtaking rate. It has
gone well beyond the traditional population of IV drug users and
gay men. Over a million Americans are already HIV-positive. And we
have simply got to try and get ahead of this, not only with
research, but also with aggressive education and prevention
strategies. This is a matter of life or death for the children of
this country, and we have got to do it.
So I ask all of you who have gathered on this beautiful lawn today
to think in the course of this election about the health care
issue, in terms of your loved ones, your family, your friends.
How many of you are only one illness away from bankruptcy?
How many people can't change jobs because they've got a pre-existing
medical condition? We're going to change that, and make it possible
for people to change their work. How many lives might hang in
the balance because of inadequate investment and research? We're
going to change that.
But you should know also, if you look at the Illinois economy, in
a larger sense, if you look at the budget problems of your state
governments and your communities, most of it is still rooted in our
stubborn refusal to control health care costs, and provide a basic
package of health care to all Americans.
We will never make manufacturing competitive in America, unless we
do that. Every American car has about six hundred dollars more in
medical costs than their foreign competitors. That is stunning.
We've got steel mills in this country where the employers are
paying seven dollars an hour in health care costs for retired steel
workers. We are going to bankrupt this country.
The state of California, where I just was yesterday, has an eleven
billion dollar deficit. And part of it is the explosive costs of
Medicaid, with more people in poverty and costs going up three or
four times the rate of inflation.
So anybody who comes to you and says, "We're going to control the
deficit. We're going to get this economy going again," and doesn't
have a plan for health care is not going to do it. This is at the
core of our national economic discontent, and we had better make up
our minds in this election to face it, and face it now.
So, I ask you to support Bill Clinton and Al Gore, because we want
to put the American people first again, because we want to make
this government to work for all of you again, and because we know
that America can never be what it ought to be until we have the
courage to change. We have got to change the economic, the health
care, and the educational policies that we're following now, or we
will not make it. That is the ultimate commitment of this campaign
to your future. Thank you very much.