MRS. CLINTON: Thank you very much. Thank you,
Senator Dodd, and I particularly want to thank Senator Dodd
for making children's health the first issue that the Senate
addressed. And Senator Riegle -- I want to thank Senator
Riegle for making it an issue when the Senate Finance
Committee was doing its deliberations. Both of these
Senators have consistently spoken out on behalf of children,
and I am very grateful to both of them and want to thank
I know we've already heard from five wonderful
witnesses about what is happening with children in their
families. And I see before me many others who could stand
and tell their stories as well. I would like, though, to
introduce and to have stand the mothers of the children who
I know we've already been able to meet Kathy and
had a chance for her to talk about all of Jennifer's needs
and how wonderfully Jennifer is doing in the face of all of
those health problems and those 2 million dollars' worth of
But I also would like Rakeia's (phonetic) mother to
stand, if she would. And I also -- I cannot resist adding to
Rakeia's story that -- what a state we have come to when a
child, playing in one of our parks during a summer day, goes
to play with sand and is hit by a bullet that strikes the
glass that -- I don't know how many of you, as children,
played -- but we used to spend hours with containers, filling
them with sand and dumping them and making different objects
And I think about all of the time that I spent in
parks and around sandboxes, and it is just extraordinary --
unbelievably unacceptable -- that any child, anywhere in our
country, would be playing in a park and have to cope with a
stray bullet, and then be left with medical needs that cannot
be met in a society that permits that to go on.
So I certainly hope that -- in addition to your
sharing your story about the needs for continuing health care
that you're not receiving, I hope your story will stiffen the
spine of those of us in this country and in this Congress who
want to do something about crimes like that.
And Asha (phonetic), your mother is here, too,
isn't she? Would you stand up, as well? Thank you very
Now, one of the great challenges that parents face
when they have beautiful children, like Asha or Jennifer,
with chronic conditions, is how they're going to meet their
health needs on a daily, weekly, yearly basis.
But particularly with something like diabetes --
and I understand several of your other children have some
ongoing health problems -- any possible economic change, any
loss of a job, any layoff strikes terror much deeper than
what is usually struck in most families, because the loss of
health benefits is a matter, often, of life or death. And
it's also a problem when you have a disease like diabetes,
that when a child gets older and is uninsurable, parents have
to worry about that as well.
I just don't understand why we add to the emotional
trauma that comes with caring for a child who is ill the
financial trauma and challenge that we often layer on top of
that because of the insecurity about health care.
As both Senators have said, and as Secretary Benson
so well said, "It is not only the right thing to do to take
care of health care problems, it is the economically smart
thing to do as well."
I have been in hospitals where adults with diabetes
have not had the proper care. They end up becoming very
sick. They sometimes have to face amputation of one of their
limbs, usually a foot or a leg. They then become much more
expensive than if we had been able to take care of their
health needs as they had gone along. So this is a classic
case where we are not investing in what we need to by taking
care of children's needs.
And I want to thank you and your mother for coming
here to help explain that to people. Thank you very much.
And I bet Jessica's mother is here, too.
And I hope everyone could hear Jessica, because she
was so soft-spoken and so eloquent in what she had to say
about her mother and her brother. Because what Jessica was
really saying is that if you're uninsured in this country,
which means you are working, because, as she said, her mother
is trying to support herself and Jessica and her brother on
her own and not go on welfare, which would give her medical
But if you are on your own, very often -- more
often than we care to admit -- as Jessica said, sometimes
people in hospitals are ugly to you because you don't have
insurance. Nobody likes to talk about this, but it needs to
be talked about.
There are too many people, and there are far too
many children who do not get the care they need to have.
Because when they show up at the emergency room, the first
thing they're asked is, "How are you going to pay for your
medical care?" And if they cannot answer that with,
"Insurance," or with a Medicaid or a Medicare card, they
often go to the end of the line.
And Dr. Koop, with whom I have traveled around the
country talking about health care, frequently says, "If you
are uninsured in America, you are three times more likely to
die from the same medical problem as someone who is insured."
And I have had the painful experience of talking to
parents and grandparents whose children were turned away at
emergency rooms, sent from hospital to hospital because they
did not have insurance, and who either got much sicker or, in
several instances, died because of that. So Jessica's story
about what happened to her brother because her mother chooses
to work, chooses to pay taxes, chooses to try to be
independent to take care of her children, puts her and her
children at a disadvantage.
There cannot be a worse indictment of a country
than to say parents who work are going to be penalized when
others who don't work will have their children's health needs
taken care of. That needs to be fixed, and it needs to be
And finally, Ian, is your mother here, too? Would
you stand? Thank you very much.
What Ian talked about, with the kinds of medication
that he needs, and the blood tests that he needs, and the
costs of all of that, is a very frequent problem. Because he
can be kept functioning well and performing in school and
doing what he needs to do as long as he is properly medicated
and that medication is properly supervised.
And what we find so often with children who have
the kind of medical situation Ian does or children with
asthma -- children with other problems that can be maintained
-- is if they get proper medical care, they're fine. They
can function well. They can be absolutely involved in all
sorts of activities.
But so many of them, if they're either uninsured or
if they're parents' insurance don't cover all of the costs,
then the chances are that they will go without the kind of
regular care that they need, which causes problems, then, in
the conditions that they have.
If we stop and think about Senator Riegle's story
or the stories that any of us could tell, I think that it's
absolutely clear there is not one of us in this room, who's a
mother or a father, who would not want to do everything we
could for our own child and to make sure that child had
whatever medical care was needed. And yet we make the job of
being a mother or a father very, very hard for too many
And it is my hope that, finally, the United States
can join the ranks of other countries, because every problem
you heard about -- every problem you heard about -- would be
taken care of without the anguish and the cost to parents in
most of the advanced countries that we compete with every
single day. They have figured out how to take care of
juvenile diabetes, how to monitor chronic conditions, how to
deal with the problems of making sure every child gets the
health care that is needed.
So I hope that our country will make good on its
primary obligation, and that is to take care of our children.
And I'm proud to be with two United States Senators who
understand that we should treat every child as though that
child were our own, because none of us knows what may happen
to our own children. And we owe it to ourselves, as well as
every parent, to make sure that every child has the kind of
health care they need. So please help us achieve health care
reform this year.
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