Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold says the time for health care reform is now.
Feingold told a crowd in Waterloo last (Wednesday) night that the Clinton health care plan was too complicated to understand or to pass. He said special interest groups hammered away at potential problems and the country simply wasn’t ready to move ahead. “At this point, it’s a whole different ball game. It’s not just businesses, it’s the top health care people, it’s the high-income doctors, it’s the people that run the hospitals. They’re all crying for major change because they’ve just had it,” Feingold said. “It’s time to complete the mission President Clinton sought which is to try to get health care for all Americans.”
Feingold was first elected to the Senate in 1992, with a new Democrat president in Clinton and Democrats had held the House for 40 years. Two years later, Democrats suffered a political tsunami according to Feingold. He said Republicans put together their “Contract With America” and showed what they believed in. “Some of it was pretty scary, but they weren’t trying to be cute. They were speaking to their base, their constituents. They were standing on principle,” Feingold said. “Well, we need to do the same thing.”
It’s Feingold’s third trip to Iowa this year. He spoke before the non-partisan, non-profit organization “Working Families Win.” The group is trying to get candidates to focus on “pocketbook” issues.
Also at the event, first district congressional candidate Bruce Braley, a Democrat, who says he’s a strong supporter of the Employee Free Choice Act. Supporters of the act say existing laws stack the deck against people forming unions for collective bargaining. Braley says the act would by-pass some of those restrictive laws. “To make sure that employees bargaining with their employers, whether it’s for a first contract negotiation or to protect themselves during negotiations, and sure that good faith bargaining is the rule and not the exception, add greater protection to ensure that their rights are being enforced under the law,” Braley says.
Braley is running against Republican Mike Whalen. The seat is currently held by Congressman Jim Nussle, a Republican who’s running for governor.