Washington, D.C. – Mixing humor with some serious talk on the Iraq war and medical malpractice, attendees at the 27th IIABA National Legislative Conference heard from a pair of senators Thursday morning who noted that while the economy needs to get going, there are many positive things going on here at home.
Senators Bill Frist (R-Tenn), the House Majority Leader, and Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) addressed hundreds of independent agents and brokers in the Presidential Ballroom of The Capital Hilton.
Frist was quick to point out to the crowd that their group is the “hub” of America. Frist, a heart surgeon, told the attendees that the problems in medical malpractice need immediate attention.
“Many of my colleagues in medicine are leaving the field,” Frist commented. “You have facilities shutting down, including the Level One Trauma Center in Nevada that closed last year. There is no need for all these frivolous lawsuits that we are seeing. Access to healthcare is being diminished, and all we are asking for is to bring balance to the system. If there is malpractice, it needs to be punished hard.”
As for the war in Iraq, Frist noted that “victory is certain” and “our objective is clear.”
Frist pointed out that the issues are freedom, democracy and peace. “We need to celebrate our American heroes – our American men and women who are fighting for the freedoms that we all often take for granted. This cause for which we fight for is not a new cause.”
Breaux, who many would consider a conservative Democrat, said that once the war is over, which he expected will be within weeks, the United States will need to regain the respect it deserves in the world community.
“We’re there as liberators, not conquerors,” Breaux told the crowd. “How we treat Iraq following the war will be very important, especially to the Arab world.”
Back at home, Breaux remarked on the problems in the American healthcare system, noting, “We have the greatest technology in the world, yet everyone doesn’t have access to affordable healthcare. I think everyone should be required to buy a basic health insurance plan for themselves and their families. We need to combine a system that offers the best of government and the private sector. Everybody in America should have health insurance.”
When asked about the presidential election in 2004, both senators noted they had no plans to run, but Breaux was quick to point out that economic security at home will be a main issue, especially once the war has ended.
The conference continues thru Saturday, with a breakfast session on Friday, a pair of National Board of State Directors Meetings, and agent meetings with Congressional Representatives on Capitol Hill.
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