Speaking in Hershey, July 1.
Bob Kerrey upped his efforts Thursday to debate Deb Fischer, seeking a debate entirely devoted to health care reform.
“I would debate right now if she wanted to,” Kerrey said in a news conference in Omaha.
Fischer and her backers blasted Kerrey’s past support of government controlled health care. She sent a harsh press release that quoted statements Kerrey made in the 1990s.
Kerrey told the Bulletin that he has thought about health care reform for a long time, and the Obamacare of today is “10,000 miles away from Health USA,” a program he proposed with Sen. Daniel Monihan in 1991.
Fischer says she would vote to repeal the health care reforms.
Kerrey has said he would change it.
“We spend more than any industrialized nation on earth on healthcare,” Kerrey said Sunday in a gathering in Hershey, “but we still have 50 million uninsured. One in seven Nebraskans has no insurance. Another 1 in 7 is worried they are about to lose it. They are everywhere, on the edge, worried that something bad is going to happen to them.”
Kerrey has sought seven debates with Fischer. So far, Fischer has agreed to one -- Aug. 25 at the Nebraska State Fair.
After traveling through western Nebraska early in the week, Kerrey held the news conference Thursday in Omaha, again calling for a health care debate. He said a traditional candidate’s forum in October at Creighton University would be ideal, but Fischer has declined it.
Kerrey also told supporters in Hershey that he will propose four constitutional amendments to tear down the partisan divide that has virtually paralyzed Congress.
1. Organize Congress in a non-partisan fashion, similar to the Nebraska Legislature.
2. Set a 12-year limit (2 terms) in the Senate.
3. Explicity overturn the “Citizen’s United” Supreme Court decision that declared corporations have the right to free speech, opening the doors to super-political action committees that saturate television with ads during campaigns.
4. Limit campaign spending.
Kerrey said those changes would keep elected representatives from “taking care of their own interests instead of the nation’s interest."
He said there are 100,000 lobbyists in Washington and only 100 Senators.
“There isn’t any way of regulating that outside of Constitutional amendments,” he said.
Kerry said the lies that are spread in attack ads are especially troubling.
“Politicians are afraid to do the right things because it will come back to hurt them,” he said.
He believes Constitutional amendments could quickly take hold among the public. Polls show only 9 percent of people think Congress is doing a good job.
Kerrey is working with constitutional scholars on the wording and expects to have them ready to propose before Election Day in November. He’s not the only one.
“There are a number of people in Congress talking about changes,” he said.
Kerrey also said Congress must make some cuts in entitlements – Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security – as well as raising taxes to balance the budget.
Kerrey criticized big businesses that complain about overregulation under financial reforms.
“They were under regulated,” he said. “That’s why we had a collapse. I’m not against them, but I don’t put a lot of credence in cries of no regulations and no taxes.”
Before having supper with Democrats at the village park in Hershey July 1, Kerrey stopped at the recently opened Lincoln County Democratic Headquarters on the bricks in downtown North Platte at 506 N. Dewey.
Lincoln County Democratic Chairman Terry Sigler recently opened the office there. Sigler can be reached at 308-532-6041.