Sen. Joe Biden on Health Care In continuing our series of presidential candidates' stump speeches, we hear from Democratic candidate Sen. Joseph Biden. The tape comes from a speech in late October, when the senator from Delaware unveiled his health care plan.

Sen. Joe Biden on Health Care

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


We've been airing some of the stump speeches of various presidential candidates. Today, we'll hear from Senator Joseph Biden, a Democrat from Delaware, about his health care plan.

Senator JOSEPH BIDEN (Democrat, Delaware): The cornerstone of my plan is catastrophic health insurance. A small company with 30 employees who has one who has a child who's tragically injured in an accident resulting in a spinal chord injury, for example, because of this one case, premiums for everyone else in that company are going to go up about 63 percent if there's 30 people in that company's plan. Or a family-owned business with less than 20 employees where a husband's cancer diagnosis more than doubles the monthly premium from 1400 to $3600 a month - that's a scenario in which no one wins.

Businesses doesn't - the business doesn't win. Employers don't win. No one. And we all recognize it. And for the first time, the first time, as I said, business and the American people are on the same page on this issue. And it's time to take charge of our health care system. The current system is good as it is for its people, it's just not working well enough for all the people. The biggest culprit, in my view, is catastrophic health care. One employee - one employee in a crisis, with over $100,000 in medical expenses, can push the premiums up for everyone in that company.

Health care cost for business - health care cost make businesses less and less competitive. And by stepping in and helping cover those cost of over $50,000, which I proposed, we can keep premiums from going up. There's a number of studies, I'm not going to bore you with them. At a minimum, we can keep premiums flat. They had gone up 86 percent. We can keep them flat. And there's a study out of Harvard indicating we can actually have them decline.

But the point is, the biggest bang for buck - the heart of my proposal is - the federal government will help pay medical cost for catastrophic care in excess of $50,000, the most expensive cases through catastrophic reinsurance program.

NORRIS: Democratic Senator Joseph Biden. He unveiled his health care plan in a speech at Des Moines University last month.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.