During an appearance this morning in Waukee, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton outlined a series of steps she said are needed to help America’s elderly.
"I consider myself a modern progressive. I’m proud of all of the progress we’ve made as a nation, but it didn’t happen by accident. It didn’t happen by wishing for it. It happened because people came together and worked to achieve them — and sometimes over great odds — to reach what we saw as goals for our country," Clinton said. "Today, we face a new set of challenges." (photo: Hillary Clinton campaigning with her husband Bill earlier this year in Iowa)
Clinton is calling for a new attempt to make the Social Security system solvent, a rewrite of the new prescription drug benefit for seniors and stricter government oversight of long-term insurance.
"Unfortunately, we’re not addressing any of these issues and planning for the future. Our current president hasn’t called on us to make a national commitment to saving Social Security and Medicare. In fact, he’s tried to privatize Social Security," Clinton said. "…And his answer to the prescription drug needs of our seniors is a plan that takes a Ph.D in bureaucracy to try to figure out."
Clinton did not mention her rivals for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination. Instead, she repeatedly attacked the current Republican President. Clinton criticized Bush for pursuing a "you’re on your own" society. "And if you look at ‘you’re on your own’ — you take the first letters — that’s the Yoyo society where you go up and you go down and somebody else is pulling and holding the strings on you," Clinton said, to applause from the crowd of 400 who gathered in the band room at Waukee High School to hear her speak.
Clinton chose to stress the theme of her new television commercials which began airing in Iowa this week, telling the crowd she shares the "vision" former presidents like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman had for the country.
"For too many people, it’s like they’re invisible to the president. You know, we don’t see what’s happening in the lives of people here in Iowa and across the country from this White House and I think that’s outrageous because so many people have worked hard their entire lives and they realize they can’t afford to retire," Clinton said.
The average age of an Iowa Caucus-goer is about 55, and many in the crowd were older. Clinton invited two elderly women up on stage to tell stories of their pocketbook struggles.
Pat Torpy of Adel recounted her tale of buying a long-term care policy that wouldn’t pay out when her husband — who has Parkinson’s — was diagnosed with cancer. "Believe me, insurance policies — like Hillary said — should be written so everyone can understand them," Torpy said.
Mary Rose Brown of Des Moines, an AARP activist, went a nationwide bus ride that ended at the White House back in 1993 when Clinton was leading a health care reform effort. "I was so awestruck with this woman and I still am," she said.
"When Mary Rose told me she was on that bus trip that started in Oregon and went all the way across the country raising awareness about why we needed to have health care for everybody…I told her, ‘Well, you may have to get back on the bus because we’re going to do it again, only this time we’re going to get it done," Clinton said, laughing as the crowd applauded.