From NBC's Mark Murray
Another day, another Clinton campaign knock on Obama on the issue of health care. Today, the Clinton campaign released letters from health-care professionals across Iowa criticizing Obama's health-care plan.
Below are the letters...
1) Health care professionals from Cerro Gordo, Hardin and Webster Counties:
We are health care professionals who work in Cerro Gordo, Hardin and Webster Counties and we are writing to urge you to support universal health care. Currently, too many Iowans are uninsured, including many of our patients. That's troubling to us - those patients without health insurance do not get the preventative health services they need to stay healthy. Instead, they rely on costly emergency room care when their health severely deteriorates. This disturbing cycle puts a tremendous strain on our hospitals, public resources and, most of all, our patients' health.
Fortunately, Hillary Clinton has proposed a universal health care plan that will cover all Americans, lower costs, give Iowans choices and make health care more affordable. Given our medical experience, we think those are the fundamental reforms this system needs. Knowing that every patient we see will have health insurance is important to us because they will be more likely to seek preventative care, which helps us preserve their long term health and keep overall costs down.
We understand you have introduced a health care plan as well and that, unlike Hillary's plan, yours does not cover 15 million people. As a result, over 100,000 Iowans would go without health insurance. We're disappointed in your plan because we believe that the goal of universal health care is something all candidates should embrace. In fact, all the Democratic candidates but you have proposed universal coverage.
We also understand that your campaign claims that proposing universal health care is excessively ambitious. But we know that Hillary has the strength and experience to achieve her plan to cover each and every American - leaving not one of the 270,000 uninsured Iowans out of her plan.
The numbers of uninsured patients we see each year will only grow if we do not act boldly. On behalf of the uninsured Iowans we encounter in our work, we urge you to propose a new plan that, like Hillary's, calls for universal health care. We can't stand to see any Iowan remain without health insurance.
Lee Hundson, Dougherty, RN;
Sharon Kropman, Mason City, RN;
Nancy Larson, Plymouth, LPN;
Rhonda True, Mason City, RN
Lorie Lyman, Iowa Falls, RN;
Dolores Wolf, Iowa Falls, LPN,
Kathy Lucero, Ft. Dodge, RN;
Susan Evers, Badger, RN
2) Health care professionals from Johnson County:
Dear Senator Obama,
We are medical professionals in the Johnson County area, and we treat uninsured Iowans every day. We know first hand that too many of our fellow Iowans who lack insurance often go without basic care and wait to seek help until a simple medical problem turns into something more dangerous.
Hillary Clinton has put forward a universal health care plan that will cut costs, give Iowans choices and make health care more affordable. Given what we see day in and day out, we think those are the fundamental reforms this system needs. Knowing that every patient we see has health insurance is important to us because they will be more likely to seek care early, which gives us a better shot at helping them.
We understand you have introduced a health care plan as well, and that it does not call for universal coverage. As a result, over 100,000 Iowans and 15 million people across the country could go without health insurance.
We also understand that your advisers have said proposing universal health care is excessively ambitious. To hear that sentiment from a Democrat is beyond disheartening - in fact, you are the only Democratic presidential candidate to not call for universal health care in your plan. It is not overly ambitious to expect our government to provide basic health insurance coverage for our citizens.
We urge you to reconsider your position. The number of uninsured patients we see each year will only grow if we do not act boldly, both for their sake and for the sake of Iowans working two and three jobs to be able to afford health insurance for their families.
The last thing we need is a Democratic presidential candidate taking hope away from uninsured Iowans, leaving them to wonder if they will be among the over 100,000 left out in the cold, uncovered by your plan.
On behalf of the uninsured men, women and children we treat, we ask you to go back to the drawing board and develop a plan that ensures that no Iowan will ever have to go without health insurance again.
Lynne Himmelreich, Oxford, ARNP, CNM, MPH;
Jill Vibhakar, Iowa City, MD
3) Health care professionals from Wapello and Mahaska Counties:
Dear Senator Barack Obama -
As health care professionals who routinely care for those who cannot afford health insurance, we are writing to urge you to support universal health care in your campaign. We understand from first hand experience the dangers of going without basic care. Every day many of our patients wake up hoping that they can get through the day without needing medical treatment that they can't afford.
Hillary Clinton has introduced a health care plan that will cover every American. Her plan provides people with the choice of keeping their own insurance or selecting another quality plan. We know that you have introduced a health care plan, but it doesn't cover all of us. In fact, your plan would leave 15 million Americans - including over 100,000 Iowans - without insurance. Moreover, we were saddened to read that your campaign thinks that proposing universal health care is excessively ambitious.
As the only Democratic presidential candidate to not propose universal health care, we hope that you will rethink your health care plan. If we do not act quickly to ensure health coverage for every man, woman, and child in our great nation, insurance will grow even more unattainable for so many people just like our patients. We believe that universal health care is an achievable dream - and we want all of the democratic presidential candidates to show they are willing to work tirelessly until all of the 270,000 uninsured Iowans have health care.
Hillary has pledged to use her strength and experience fighting special interests to make this dream a reality - will you?
Judy Dejong of Oskaloosa, Mahaska County, RN;
Nancy Emanuel of Ottumwa, Wapello County, RN;
Carol Holmes Skinner of Ottumwa, Wapello County, Retired Nurse
4) Health care professional from Muscatine County:
Senator Obama -
I am writing to you as a registered nurse who has cared for many Iowans, both young and old, in and around Muscatine County. I am active in the community and feel strongly that all of us deserve access to quality and affordable health care.
I am writing to you because your campaign's comments that proposing universal health care is excessively ambitious are worrisome to me and many folks in the Muscatine and Quad Cities area. Uninsured Americans have enough challenges; not knowing if they would be among the people covered (or the 15 million people not covered) under your plan only intensifies their situation.
Hillary Clinton has a universal health care plan that will provide affordable, quality health care coverage to every single American. Iowans will have more choices, and health care would be more affordable. However, if they are happy with what they've got, Hillary's plan lets them keep their current coverage.
Your plan doesn't make the same promise - over 100,000 Iowans could likely stay uninsured if your plan comes to fruition. That's 100,000 too many. On behalf of the uninsured men, women and children in our community, I ask you to give Iowans - and our country - a plan that gives us the same hope as Hillary Clinton.
Linda Reichert, of Muscatine County, Muscatine, RN
5) Health care professionals from Pottawattamie County:
Dear Senator Obama,
As active and retired members of the medical community, we are writing to urge you to reassess your health care plan and instead support universal health coverage for every American man, woman, and child. While we admire your interest in changing the health care system, we do not understand why you have proposed a plan that leaves 15 million Americans without health insurance - including over 100,000 Iowans.
Every day, our local hospitals treat patients who could have avoided health crises with simple preventative care. Instead, emergency rooms have become the primary care facilities for Iowans that have nowhere else to turn; driving up costs, overwhelming hospitals, and lowering the quality of health of many residents.
Hillary Clinton has proposed a health care plan that would provide universal coverage for every American. Her plan allows those satisfied with their health care plan to keep it, while providing cost-effective alternatives to those who want to switch plans or are currently uninsured. This universal health care solution is what we need to reverse the trend of rising costs and record numbers of uninsured Americans.
Your campaign recently said proposing universal health care was excessively ambitious. We want to point out, however, that you are the only Democratic presidential candidate who has not proposed a plan to provide universal health care coverage.
We believe it is Senator Clinton who has the strength and experience to make universal health care a reality. In thinking about the stark reality facing uninsured members of our community, we ask that you reconsider your position on this important issue.
If John F. Kennedy could challenge America to reach the moon in 9 years - a feat that required American ingenuity, imagination, and technology never before dreamed of - surely we can meet the challenge of providing health insurance for every American. We already have the technology, skills, and know-how. Now we just need a President who believes we can do it.
Karole Anastasi, Honey Creek, RN and manager for clinics division of Alegent Health Systems, retired;
Vivian Dau, Oakland, RN, school nurse, retired;
Bobbie Moore, Honey Creek, RN, University of Nebraska Medical Center
6) Health care professional from Woodbury County:
Dear Senator Barack Obama -
As a practicing nurse, day in and day out I see patients who wait far too long to see a doctor for fear of not being able to pay for necessary medications or procedures. It is because of my life experiences that I strongly encourage you to support a universal health care plan. Each one of the many patients I see daily would be more likely to solicit a medical opinion if they had the health insurance to help cover their costs.
Hillary Clinton has a comprehensive quality health care plan aimed at covering all Americans. Her plan provides every man, woman, and child the choice of keeping their current insurance or selecting another quality plan. I understand that your plan leaves many families out.
Under your proposed health care plan, Senator Obama, over 100,000 Iowans would remain uninsured. The idea of health care being universal and offered nationwide is neither ambitious nor excessive, it is absolutely necessary.
As a lifelong Democrat, I really cannot understand how you can be the only Democratic presidential candidate to propose a health care plan which is not universal. I strongly urge you to reconsider the implications of your proposed plan. It is imperative for this and future generations that every person is eligible for quality health care coverage.
Hillary Clinton has vowed to fight for health care for every single American. Will you join her in this important fight?
Madonna Griffith, Lawton, RN
7) Health care professional from Kossuth County:
Dear Senator Obama,
With the abundance of qualified candidates in the race for the Democratic nomination it was difficult for me to decide who I would be supporting. But as a health care professional, I know it is imperative that universal health care be achieved in the next presidential administration.
It was incredibly disheartening to hear your campaign advisers say that proposing universal health care is excessively ambitious. Under your current plan for virtually universal health care, over 100,000 Iowans and 15 million Americans will be left uninsured. They will continue to rely solely on emergency care, which is expensive for the individual and the government.
Hillary Clinton's universal health care plan gives the consumer the advantage by offering more choices and lowering costs. It allows consumers to keep the insurance they have if they like it and change it if they don't or aren't currently covered.
Hillary Clinton has worked her whole life for change. She has taken on the Republicans and special interests to work for real change. Nobody has worked harder or longer to improve health care.
As the only candidate in the Democratic presidential campaign to not propose universal health care, I think it will behoove you to re-evaluate your decision to exclude 15 million people from your health care plan. The country is ready for change and we need a leader who will get us there.
Dona Tebben of Corwith, Kossuth County, Home Health Aid and Family Support Worker
8) Health care professionals from Story and Warren County:
As health care professionals we both deal with uninsured Iowans every day. It pains us when we see patients who come for care in poor condition because they waited too long before seeking the basic care they need.
This is an extremely serious problem that demands bold action, not half-hearted attempts. With over 270,000 uninsured Iowans and over 47 million uninsured nationwide, we need a president who has the strength, experience and political courage to end this fight once and for all. Senator Obama, we encourage you to change your plan and take the necessary steps to ensure all Americans will be covered.
Hillary Clinton has a plan to insure every single American - including the over 100,000 Iowans who would lack coverage under your plan. We have decided to support Hillary because in our opinion you cannot run for president today without putting forward a plan that will insure each and every American. Hillary understands that in order to achieve this important goal we need to fully commit ourselves to this cause.
We were disappointed to hear that your campaign thinks proposing universal health care is excessively ambitious. You are the only Democratic presidential candidate to not propose universal health care and, unfortunately, efforts like yours that vow to take universal coverage slow and work towards coverage as a long term goal shows a lack of commitment. Insurance companies will certainly exploit that weakness and use it to their advantage at the negotiating table.
Hillary's plan will give consumers the choice of keeping their own coverage or selecting from a menu of other quality insurance plans while keeping premiums under a locked percentage of their income. With the power of choice, insurers will have to compete for their consumers, which will drive down costs and finally make the consumer the center of health care coverage.
Fifteen million Americans and over 100,000 Iowans would still lack coverage under your plan. For us and for Hillary Clinton, that is 15 million and 100,000 people too many.
Catherine Bagley of Nevada, Story County; RN;
Marilyn Kirkpatrick of New Virginia, Warren County; CPC