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Sen. Bob Graham

Of all the important domestic issues facing America and working families across this country, the issue of health care is no doubt the most important. Right now in America, too many of our citizens are faced with impossible financial roadblocks in their efforts to gain access to quality, affordable health care. More than 42 million Americans are currently uninsured.

I’m running for president to change this. Throughout the course of this campaign, I will conduct a dialogue with the American people about the future of health care in this country. I envision creating a health care system that is affordable, accessible and ensures quality care.

We must start by beginning the process of enacting a series of realistic and achievable measures that will take us toward universal health care in this nation. We will begin this process by providing access to health care coverage to all children in America, followed by covering the working poor and retirees who have yet to reach the age of 65.

We also must work to ensure that we contain the soaring costs of health care in this country, which are not only bankrupting America’s families, but also creating a financial crisis in state governments.

Containing health care costs is not only critical to the integrity of our health care system, it is also critical to ensuring that our economy prospers in the years ahead. It is imperative that we fix the current broken system.

During my three terms in the U.S. Senate, I have been a leader on health care. I have led the effort to refocus Medicare from a system that treats seniors when they get sick to one that encourages wellness and independence through prevention. I’m proud that my bipartisan prescription drug plan garnered a majority of votes in the Senate last year.

As president, I will enact a real benefit that provides America’s seniors a guarantee of affordable prescription drugs. President Bush is pushing to enact a plan that is a boon to the big drug and insurance companies, but it will provide very little to America’s seniors.

Another important issue that I will pursue as America’s next president will be building a public health infrastructure that is prepared for terrorist attacks on our homeland. Right now, our public health system is woefully inadequate compared to the threats we face.

Another priority for me will be to ensure that we invest in the future of health care in this country. We must continue to devote additional resources in research and development, including the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And finally, we must fix the inadequate Medicare reimbursement rate that currently shortchanges too many American families. The current system shortchanges too many of our rural states, forcing health care providers to make devastating cuts that are affecting the quality of care in this country.

As president, I will be a leader on health care and usher in an era of affordable, accessible and quality care.

Sen. Bob Graham (Fla.) is a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

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