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Betty Ann McCaskill (Claire’s mom) and Senator Jean Carnahan stopped in Warrensburg this afternoon on their Missouri “Heartland Tour”.

Betty Ann McCaskill (left) and Senator Jean Carnahan (right) next to their “Heartland Tour” motor home.

Show Me Progress: This trip that you’re taking…

Jean Carnahan: Um, hmm.

SMP: …is about health care. And, in rural Missouri. You’ve been to various parts of the state. So, what, what areas have you traveled to?

Jean Carnahan: Okay…we went down I-44, down to Springfield first. So that took…

Betty Ann McCaskill: We hit about five, no, we hit about eight towns in two days. [crosstalk]

Jean Carnahan:…Sullivan, Washington, Rolla, Marshfield,…Waynesville, Springfield. That was the first trip.  

SMP: And so you’ve spoken to a lot of people about health care and…

Jean Carnahan: Yeah.

SMP: What are their concerns?

Jean Carnahan: Well, people, of course, are concerned about jobs. They see the jobs being shipped overseas. And they don’t know how big the extent of this economic downturn is going to be. And sometimes people who don’t have 401Ks, they don’t quite see it yet, they’re not feeling it yet. But when the jobs start being cut, then all of a sudden this is going to be much more evident to people in communities and on Main Street. So that’s a sign we haven’t seen the last of this yet. And some people have said that this [garbled] is a lot more serious than we think it is. And I just feel a lot better about the proposals that Obama has and the firm steady hand on the economy than I do with McCain. I know McCain. I’ve traveled with him. And worked with him in the Senate. And he’s, he’s a volatile personality. And I frankly want somebody that’s a little bit steadier. I think the American people are, are wanting that as well…

…SMP: Are you finding that people you talk to, voters, are aware of the differences in the health care proposals?

Jean Carnahan: [to Betty Ann McCaskill] You know, I just wonder do you think they are as much as they should be? [crosstalk]

Betty Ann McCaskill: Well I think one of the…I think the place that we heard the questions about it. They were most concerned around the Springfield area where the medicine is a big, big item. The hospitals there are wonderful big hospitals. And I think there are people, particular in those areas, that worry about socialized medicine.

SMP: Um, Hmm.

Betty Ann McCaskill: And the difference between Obama’s plan, and I think the best difference, is that there is a choice. The people can choose either one of the privatized plans and stay with the doctor they want or go with another plan that would help them better, those that need more financial help. And his plan will cost the average family about twenty five hundred dollars a year less. And these particulars, and I think particularly the idea that they can choose. The idea that it’s individual health plans for the average Missouri family. That’s what their major concern is. “Can I get health care on an individual basis?” And also cover pre-existing conditions? This is very important. How many people do we know that end up needing insurance but they have a previous history of cancer and they can’t get insurance? Well, who needs it more? They guy who’s perfectly healthy, or the person who has cancer?

SMP: Have you encountered people who have told you stories about a lack of health insurance?

Jean Carnahan: Um, hmm. Yes, we do.

SMP: Any striking stories?

Jean Carnahan: Well, there was one that the people around St. James were telling us.

Betty Ann McCaskill: Right.

Jean Carnahan: Remember that one?

Betty Ann McCaskill: Yes.

Jean Carnahan: The fellow who was in, I guess he was in, he was a soldier. He came back. And he went to work for the police force. And was injured on duty, I think, there.

Betty Ann McCaskill: Yes.

Jean Carnahan: And then was unable to get any health benefits, either from the government or from, from his health, from his insurance. And so it seems a pretty pathetic story. And, you know, everybody has some variation on the same thing, just not being able to get adequate affordable health care. And Barack Obama is going to assure that the, that at least twenty five hundred dollars will be reduced from the costs up to that amount. And, you know, McCain, he wants to tax the employer based health. And, you know, we’re just not used to that. We haven’t had that in the history of our country.

Betty Ann McCaskill: That is totally unheard of.

Jean Carnahan: And, of course, he wants also to cut Medicaid, Medicare to be able to pay for his health program. And then told us that he wanted to deregulate health care, like [garbled] deregulated the banks.

Betty Ann McCaskill: Ha. Ha. We know how that worked out.

Jean Carnahan: This is not a happy scenario. But, so, I think when you compare the two I think people certainly would see Barack Obama is more inclined to give better coverage to more people. And that’s certainly what the comparisons have shown.

Betty Ann McCaskill: And in that, in that area, what about the returning veterans that we’re getting back? And I know my daughter Claire particularly, and Barack Obama, went over to Walter Reed and found abominable conditions. Do you think John McCain had never walked through that hospital and seen that there were people not getting care at all? And all of a sudden, some emphasis was paid to these returning veterans who needed health care. And, at this point we now have a bill that’s gonna give them all of the extras that my husband got when he got back from World War II. And that’s very necessary. I think the people in Missouri particularly will appreciate the fact that veterans will receive the benefits they deserve.

SMP: well, thank you very much for your time.

Jean Carnahan: Well, thank you…