Question: Forty-six million Americans are estimated to be without health insurance. How do you view the current health care system and what approaches, if any, would you take to better the system?
Bennett: "I have a friend in Bethlehem, and her daughter, Helen, died of ovarian cancer. Why did she die? Because she never had a check up? Why did she never have a check up? She didn't have health care. She left two teen-aged children behind and her husband.
"Right now, we have 200,000 children right here in Pa. that don't even have any health care. My opponent receives free lifetime health care paid for by the taxpayers of Pennsylvania. Apparently, what's good enough for him isn't good enough for the rest of us.
"When it came to expanding coverage for children, for veterans, for national reservists, and national guard, my opponent voted No. When it came to voting for seniors to go to Canada to buy low cost prescription drugs or to allow us to negotiate prices for Medicare, he voted No.
"I say Cain [?]. I say Yes to quality health care for every American irregardless [sic] of your income, irregardless [sic] of your pre-existing condition and irregardless [sic] of your employer. Of you can't afford health care coverage or are overpaying right now, we're gonna' put you on the same plan that sitting members of U.S. Congress currently enjoy.
"Right now, we only spend 3% of our health care dollar on prevention. So let's put a nurse practitioner and a dental hygienist at every school in America so every American child has a chance for a three month check up.
"Right here and now in front of you today, I'm making a pledge. I will not accept any government health care until every American has health care every bit as good as sitting members of U.S. Congress."
Dent: "First, before we get to the health care issue, I want to address about four or five false statements my opponent just made. She said I voted against protecting pensions. That's absolutely false. I voted for the Pension Protection Act to make it easier to shore up defined benefit programs . . . . So she's completely wrong. I actually voted for the bill.
"I oppose privatization of Social Security, unlike what she said.
"With respect to Veterans' benefits, I want to be very clear. I voted for record increases in veterans' health and other veterans' health benefits. That is a fact. That is on the record. I'd like to point out, too, that I just voted recently for legislation to create a new GI Bill in educational benefits for our veterans who served after 9/11/01 so they can go to college. Also, listening to those men and women in Afghanistan, who I met, they wanted to make sure that if they didn't use the education benefit, that it could be used by their spouse. We included that into the law. So I've been very good on veterans' benefits, on veterans' health. She simply doesn't understand the issue.
"With respect to health care, I'd like to point out a few other things. First, access, affordability and quality are the things we need to focus on.
"I believe an individual should get the same favorable tax treatment we give businesses in terms of providing access to health insurance. It's true we have 47 million uninsured Americans. We have to break that number down. We have to make sure that if an individual wants to buy insurance, give him that tax credit. If they don't have enough income to realize that credit, give him a refundable tax credit so that they can buy a policy for themselves or their families.
"With respect to - - -, we need medical liability reform, we need tort reform to help drive down costs and in a bipartisan way.
"We can deal with the issue of health IT, electronic medical records. We can save hundreds of billions of dollars if we do this right. We have to drive down costs.
"I voted to expand the children's health insurance program. I voted twice to override the president on that particular piece of legislation.
"Finally, with respect to bailouts, I'll say once again, I voted against George bush and Sam Bennett on the Fannie Freddie bailout. You were for it. I was opposed to it."