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Lieberman, Kucinich Address Health Care at Oklahoma Forum
By Michael Lewis, 13
Scholastic Student Reporter


Senator Joe Lieberman at a health care forum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, one week before the February 3 primary election in that state. Lieberman took time to talk to Scholastic News Online Student Reporter Michael Lewis after the forum. (Photo by Michael Lewis)


Wednesday, January 28—Is our nation's health care system adequate? Presidential candidates Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio appeared today for a National Health Care Forum at the University of Central Oklahoma campus. Both of the candidates presented their points of view on the nation's controversial health care issue to Oklahoma citizens. Oklahoma holds its primary election on Tuesday, February 3, along with Missouri, South Carolina, New Mexico, Arizona, Delaware, and North Dakota (which holds caucuses).

Senator Lieberman proposes to help children with a plan he calls MediKids. His plan will provide children with health care from age 0 to 25, he said. In a bold statement, Lieberman summed up his view of the nation's current health care problems. "President Bush did not create these problems in the last three years," Lieberman said, "but he hasn't done anything about them in the past three years either."

Both Senator Lieberman and Congressman Kucinich have been traveling the country to rally votes for the 2004 primary elections. Senator Lieberman often focuses his remarks on children's health care and on finding cures for chronic diseases, such as cancer and diabetes. Congressman Kucinich's focus is often on eliminating the role of private medical insurance companies in setting national health care policy. He presents a Medicare plan, which includes young, old, rich, or poor. Kucinich poses the question: "What good is the best medicine available if you cannot access it?"

Senator Lieberman also addressed the problem of obesity in school. "Obesity is the second-largest cause of preventable deaths every year," he said. Lieberman's plans include promoting more exercise and better food in schools.

Both candidates said Americans are not provided with efficient health care.

"The reason we are not receiving health care is not because we are not paying for it, but rather because hundreds of billions of dollars go to stock options and marketing instead of health care," Kucinich said.

President Bush's stand on the issue is that he would improve American's access to health care. "America already has the best health care in the world and we need to keep it that way by keeping the private market strong," he said in a speech in the Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. He gave the speech the same day as the Democrats' political forum on health care in Oklahoma City. Bush said the government should not be in charge of the nation's health care. "The best health care system is that health care system generated in the private markets."

Bush has also been campaigning around the country, speaking to groups like the American Medical Association about health care. He will face the winner of the Democratic primaries next fall during the Presidential Election.