Good evening. I had the privilege of speaking to this convention four years ago, and at that time, our nation had 45.8 million people without health care insurance and millions more who were underinsured.
Today, the number of uninsured has risen to 47 million people. If you add up the entire population of Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and my home state of Wisconsin, you have roughly the number of uninsured people in this country. That includes more than 9 million American children with millions more who are underinsured and afraid to seek medical care because of high co-pays or limited coverage.
When the people of our great nation feel the American dream slipping out of their reach, we can't afford more of the same. Barack Obama is the change we need. For millions of hardworking Americans, many of them women, illness also means crushing debt. Half of all personal bankruptcies in this country are caused by catastrophic medical bills.
That is what happened to Sue from Beloit, Wisconsin. She told me, "My husband was diagnosed with lung cancer. After treatment began, we found out that the insurance company had a small loophole. Under our insurance, they have a $13,000 limit per year on radiation and chemotherapy. That amount did not even cover the first treatment of either radiation or chemo." Sue said, "I was not going to have my husband die for lack of treatment, so we started to use our savings and available credit to pay for medical expenses. My husband later died."
"After having completely depleted our savings and facing insurmountable credit card debt," she told me, "I had no choice but to file bankruptcy last year." Sue's story is common all across the country. For eight long years, we've had a president more concerned about the health of insurance companies than the health of the American people.
John McCain is more of the same. But we have a choice in this election.
Barack Obama recognizes that good health care is as necessary to a productive society as a good education. Barack Obama understands that investing in people restores the American dream. And Barack Obama believes we can create a safer, stronger, healthier society.
This November, we have an historic opportunity to strengthen our health care system, reduce costs and make coverage available to all who need it.
I'm voting for the change we need to bring health care to all. I'm voting for Barack Obama!
"Tammy Baldwin 2008 DNC." C-SPAN video, 3:45. Aug. 26, 2008. https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4608348/tammy-baldwin-2008-dnc.