TRANSCRIPT: ABC News/Facebook/WMUR Democratic Debate

EDWARDS: What's happening now is insurance companies are running all over people. I mean, the case of Nataline Sarkisyan, which a lot of the audience will be familiar with -- 17-year-old girl who lost her life a couple of weeks ago because her insurance company would not pay for a liver transplant operation.

She had health insurance, but the insurance company wouldn't pay for it. They finally caved in a few hours before she died.

We need a president who will take these people on. What we did -- and I didn't do it alone, don't claim to have done it alone -- but I, Senator McCain, who was here earlier, Senator Kennedy, the three of us wrote the Patient's Bill of Rights. The three of us took on the powerful insurance industry and their lobby, every single day of the fight for the Patient's Bill of Rights. And we got that bill through the United States Senate and got it passed.

EDWARDS: And I'm proud of having done that.

But that's just an example of why this battle is personal for me. You know, we need a president who believes deeply -- in here -- believes deeply in this battle.

And it is personal for me. When I see these lobbyists roaming around Washington, D.C., taking all the politicians to cocktail parties, I mean, the picture I get in my head is my father and my grandmother going in that mill every day so that I could have the chances I've had.

Where is their voice in this democracy? When are they going to get heard? They need a president who will stand up for them, and so does every American who's listening to this debate.

OBAMA: I just want to add, I agree with John, which is why I prohibited lobbyists from buying meals for members of Congress...

EDWARDS: Good idea.

OBAMA: ... because -- and some of them complained. They said...


OBAMA: They said, "Where am I going to eat?"

GIBSON: They can now buy food for members of Congress if the members of Congress are standing up. That's my understanding of what the rules have changed. You can't sit down and eat, but you can stand up and eat. Tell me why that's change.

OBAMA: Here's what we did. They can't buy meals. They can't provide gifts. They can no longer lend corporate...

GIBSON: They can have huge parties for you as long as you're standing up.

EDWARDS: They can't eat as much if they're standing up, Charlie.

OBAMA: That's true.

Look, we are now disclosing if they're bundling money for members of Congress. They've got to disclose who they're bundling money from and who they're giving it to.

But here's the critical point that I want to make. Not only does this have to be personal, John -- and I completely agree. When I think about health care, I think about my mother, who when she was dying of cancer had to read an insurance form because she had just gotten a new job and they were trying to figure out whether or not this was going to be treated as a preexisting condition, and whether or not they would pay her medical bills.

So I've seen the costs of a health care system that is broken in very personal terms.

But what I also believe, if we're going to bring about real change, then we have to bring in the American people. We have to bet on them.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...