Originally Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2012, 12:05 am
Last Updated: Oct. 25, 2012, 12:12 am

Clyburn promotes Bustos, health care at Augie

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By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com

ROCK ISLAND — Health care was among the topics covered by the assistant Democratic House leader,Rep. James E. Clyburn, D-SC, at an appearance Wednesday morning on behalf of congressional candidate Cheri Bustos.

Mr. Clyburn joined his hosts, the Augustana College Democrats, in urging support for Ms. Bustos, who is challenging Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, for the 17th District seat in Congress. She said the race will come down to what each candidate stands for.

Rep. Clyburn spoke supportively of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. He said he watched his mother die of cancer. "It not only took her life away but all of her savings," he said.

When his wife had bypass surgery five years ago, she took aspirin to the hospital, knowing what the hospital would charge. Rep. Clyburn said his wife knew medical costs are shifted -- those who have insurance pay for those who don't have insurance, he said.

"So when you make (health care) universal and bring people into the system, it means everybody gets a better existence when it comes to health care and health care delivery," Rep. Clyburn said.

While the Affordable Care Act does not include everything, it is a necessary first step, he said, and will be revisited time and time again.

Rep. Clyburn said if Mitt Romney is elected, he expects the new president to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. "He will sit down on day one and sign an executive order to eliminate Obamacare," Rep. Clyburn said.

"It can be done," he added.

Rep. Clyburn said equal rights face the biggest threat going forward, and said while some people focus on the pro-life/pro-choice debate, he sees the issue as equal pay for equal work. Recent female college graduates still are paid less then men doing the same work, he said.

April Thompson, Moline, asked Rep. Clyburn how anything will get done if Democrats do not take back the House.

Rep. Clyburn said he believes there will be progress if the President is re-elected. Congress is reorganized at the beginning of every new session. He said if the House remains in the hands of Republicans and the Senate remains in the hands of Democrats, the Senate will bring new bills forward.

"There is no way the leadership in the House will keep their fingers in the dike to keep these bills from passing," he said. "I foresee things getting better. We will be OK," he said.