Congressman Kucinich Out Front Again - Now on Health Care

MANCHESTER NH - A week before Michael Moore will begin to ask Presidential candidates to sign a pledge dealing with health care, Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich -- in Moore's own words -- "is 100 percent on board."

Speaking at a health care town meeting following a screening of his new movie SiCKO, Moore said he will be asking candidates to sign his four-part pledge and urged his audience to "hold the candidates' feet to the fire" on issues of healthcare.

In addition to supporting a universal health care system, Moore says true universal health care demands the removal of insurance companies from the health care industry and would regulate drug companies much in the way public utilities are regulated. Candidates should not take any campaign funds from Insurance companies, drug companies, hospitals, HMOs or other health care industry groups, Moore said.

While some candidate might agonize over Moore's pledge, it was no problem for Kucinich, who has consistently supported those goals since he has been in Congress, and has taken no funds from the health care industry other than "individual contributions from some of the 14,000 doctors who have endorsed HR 676, the Conyers/Kucinich Health Care Bill." The Conyers/Kucinich bill would provide free medical, dental, mental health and long-term care to any resident of the United States.

In contrast to Kucinich's refusal to take health care PAC money, Moore ran down a list of other presidential candidates who have taken such funds. Moore said the total raised by candidates during the first three months of 2007 was more than $3 million. In advocating for candidates to sign his pledge, he did not say whether he would require those candidates who have taken money from the health care industry to return it if they expected his support.

Saying he was not ready to endorse any specific candidate, Moore said he would be closely reading the health care plans of the other candidates.

"I'll look at Clinton's plan if she produces one, and I can tell you why the Edwards plan won't work, and why the Obama plan won't work." Moore said he does support Kucinich's HR 676. He said he hoped the public would insist the other candidates would modify their health care plans to make them acceptable.

Moore also cautioned health care advocates to not accept "non-profit" insurance companies any more than the for-profit companies. "Some of the biggest insurance companies out there are technically non-profit," he said.

The tax status of an insurance company, however, would not matter should HR 676 become law. Kucinich, who helped write HR 676, said under his plan it would be unlawful for a private health insurer to sell health insurance coverage that duplicates the benefits provided under the act.