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Cantwell Pledges to Fight for Quality, Affordable Health Care for Everyone

Location: Bremerton, WA

Cantwell Pledges to Fight for Quality, Affordable Health Care for Everyone

Cantwell Visits Bremerton on Nine Day, 26 Stop "Putting Us First" Tour

BREMERTON, WA - Friday in Bremerton, at a meeting with local veterans and seniors, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell pledged to work to make quality, affordable health care available to everyone.

"Every American deserves access to quality, affordable health care and prescription drug coverage." said Cantwell. "Unfortunately, the president and the Republican leadership keep abandoning Washington seniors to higher drug costs, and failing Washington veterans by cutting funding for veterans' health care. Those are the wrong choices. We can do better."

Bremerton-area veterans Pat Farrell and Ken Quilantang and senior Bob Dietz spoke at Friday's event, telling of their firsthand experiences with the rising costs of health care and prescription drugs.

"If you've served your country, especially in a time of war, you should be taken care of," said Ken Quilantang, a Vietnam veteran. "This shouldn't be a political issue, but it is because the Bush administration keeps under-funding veterans' health care. The people at the VA do good work, and they do the best they can with what they're given, but we're not giving them enough to work with. Senator Cantwell is working to do right by our veterans, and she deserves our support."

Cantwell has made it a top priority during her first term to make sure all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care and prescription drug coverage. When many seniors were having trouble determining which prescription drug plan was right for them, Cantwell tried to extend the deadline, and advocated for protections for our most vulnerable seniors. Unfortunately, the president and Congress had other priorities.

Cantwell is also working to allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies to get the best possible price.

But while the Veterans Administration is currently able to negotiate for lower prescription drug costs, the Bush administration has consistently failed to provide full funding for veteran's health care programs - instead asking veterans and military retirees to pay more for the health care they need and deserve. As of May 2006, nearly 3,000 people were on a waiting list for outpatient care in Washington state.

According to Veterans Service Organizations, the federal government is under-funding veterans' health care by at least $2 billion. And because nearly twenty-five percent of Kitsap County adults are veterans, the Bremerton area is hit especially hard by Bush administration hikes in health care and prescription drug fees for veterans and military retirees.

Providing veterans with adequate health care should be top priority for our nation, and Cantwell is working to make sure we honor that commitment.

Cantwell's visit to Bremerton is part of her statewide "Putting Us First" tour. Cantwell will be making 26 stops through 13 cities and towns in nine days, talking with Washingtonians about the issues that matter to them. Cantwell's "Putting Us First" tour will highlight her accomplishments and show her future plans to promote and protect our Northwest values.

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