WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at an event for the Children's Health Fund this afternoon on the West Front Lawn of the Capitol to raise awareness for the more than 21 million children who will benefit from health insurance reform. Other speakers included singer-songwriter Paul Simon and Dr. Irwin Redlener of the Children's Health Fund. Below are the Speaker's remarks:
"Thank you very much, Irwin, for your very generous introduction. More importantly, thank you for your tremendous leadership on behalf of America's children and their health.
"I am so pleased to be here with my colleague, Congressman Dennis Moore from Kansas. It's wonderful to join you, Dennis, and thank you for your leadership. For his children, for his grandchildren, he wants all of America's children to have wonderful opportunities. Welcome back to the Capitol, Paul Simon -- thank you for being a co-founder of the Children's Health Fund and for helping us fight for children's health over the years.
"Remember when we were gathered year in and year out to fight for the expansion of SCHIP? Well, we would win the vote, but we couldn't win President Bush's signature and we couldn't override the veto. But that all changed in January when one of the first bills President Obama signed was to insure 11 million children in America.
"Many of you are gathered here on the stage, and certainly Dr. Redlener, have dedicated their entire lives to the issue that strikes the heart of our country's future, the health of America's children. Paul Simon's leadership has not only been strong but has been an inspiration. His willingness to use his fame and celebrity, his ability to attract attention to serve the good of our children is an extraordinary example of compassion and commitment and now a success -- for health, for children's health.
"For our children, we also want prevention; we want healthier children. We want a healthy America, not just health care and health insurance, but good health that comes through prevention and bringing it right to where the children are. I mentioned SCHIP, that it's enormous progress -- it's already saved lives and made kids healthier.
"But now we have a big opportunity to make significant progress for our children with this health insurance reform bill. We must act to ensure stability and security for Americans with health insurance and that means America's family. It has to be quality, it has to be affordable, and it must be accessible for all of America's families. And in that way, we will lower cost, improve quality, expand coverage to the tens of millions of people and families who do not have health insurance, and also to ensure choice. If you like what you have, you can keep it. But let's move on to making sure our children are well served.
"When the President spoke last week to the Congress, he spoke about who we are as a country. He spoke about the character of our country and nothing really reflects the true character more than the legacy that we leave for the next generation. Everyone was talking about where we rank, where we rank in health insurance for all Americans and what that means for our children, the real statement of who we are and we've got to improve where we rank in terms of health insurance.
"America's Affordable Health Choices Act recognizes that a family is comprised of parents and children. And so here are some of the things I want you to know that are so important that we are involved in, in all of our discussions. The bill guarantees affordable hearing and vision care for our children. It requires all parents to cover their children and makes insurance affordable enough for that to happen. The legislation takes us forward by improving reimbursements for primary care doctors, which means more access, better access to help care for our kids. It will make sure Medicaid covers primary and specialty care and ensures that critical vaccines will be available in every neighborhood, for every child.
"What we want to do in the bill is to bring health care and prevention where the children are -- in their homes, in their schools, in their neighborhoods, in their communities -- so that it is accessible. When all is said and done, reform means that America's families will no longer have to spend too much of their hard-earned paychecks on health care and keep more money in their pocket to raise their children.
"Today we have an opportunity to transform our economy and build a foundation for prosperity for every citizen and strengthen the character of our country. It is an opportunity we cannot miss. Our country and our economy will not have to wait anymore for health insurance reform. Our families can't wait another week for us to do what is right and our kids can't wait one more moment for us to act.
"Thank you, Paul Simon. Thank you, Irwin Redlener. Thank you to all of you for what you are doing."
SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House