Oct 16, 2020
Joe Biden Southfield, MI Speech on Health Care October 16
Joe Biden gave a speech on expanding access to health care in Southfield, Michigan on October 16. Read the full transcript of his remarks here.
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Joe Biden: (00:00)
Hello, Michigan. Hi, how are you? What’s your name? Sam, good to see you, man. Thanks for being here. I appreciate it. Alexia, thank you for taking the time telling your story, it’s important. Unfortunately, there are an awful lot of stories like yours all over America as I travel the country, too many, it don’t have to be. And, folks, it’s great to be back, it’s great to be here.
Joe Biden: (00:39)
There’s not a better governor in the United States of America than Gretchen Whitmer, that’s a fact. I’ve met virtually all of them. And Gary, we badly need you back in the United States Senate, pal, we badly need you back in the United States Senate. And then my sister, Debbie Stabenow. God love you, Debbie. We worked so closely together for so long and as vice-president as well.
Joe Biden: (01:13)
Folks, look, we need to send Gary back to another term. Standing up for Michigan, Michigan families, small businesses. He was our main congressional partner back in 2010 when we passed the critical legislation supporting small businesses. I remember the president gave me the responsibility to go out and round up support. My go-to guy to get it done, I mean it sincerely was Gary. He was the go-to guy and he always shows up and he always shows up for Michigan.
Joe Biden: (01:51)
And like all of you, Jill and I are so grateful that the governor and her family are safe. It’s an unusual year. Governor you’ve been through a lot but my Lord, you are a leader. You stand up straight and tall and you don’t bend. Governor, it’s not easy to lead in moments of crisis but that’s a determination of whether you are a real leader when you stepped up to the crisis and you’ve stepped up, you’ve done it and you keep doing it.
Joe Biden: (02:18)
And as I said a moment ago you’re pretty much doing it better than anybody else in the whole United States of America. You’ve shown this whole nation just how tough and thoughtful you are, tough just like Michigan. I’ve got to believe this state has to be so proud of you. I know personally I am as I’ve gotten to know you and proud to call your friend, gov.
Joe Biden: (02:45)
We’re grateful to the FBI and law enforcement to discover these domestic terrorists and stop them. And make no mistake, that’s who they are, domestic terrorists, flat terrorists. Planning to blow up a bridge on American soil, to threaten the lives of police officers, to kidnap an elected later and now we’re finding out the same thing was happening in Virginia. It’s the sort of behavior you might expect from ISIS and it should shock the conscious of every American, every American. And the failure to condemn these folks is stunning from the outset. I remember it matters. You’ve heard me say it before, “Words matter.” And the words of a president particularly matter. When the president tweeted, “Liberate Michigan, liberate Michigan,” that’s the call that was heard, that was the dog whistle. Just like when he said, “Very fine people on both sides in Charlottesville.” Fathers, they came out of the fields carrying torches, their veins bulging, shouting antisemitic bile, carrying Nazi flags accompanied by the Klu Klux Klan.
Joe Biden: (04:10)
But when a young woman was killed protesting the president was asked what he think and he said something no president has ever, ever, ever, ever heard, “There were very fine people on both sides.” Those words were heard just like when he stood on the debate stage with me and refused to denounce white supremacists but told that white ring extremist group to “stand back and stand by.” Stand back and stand by, an American president? Not only shocked us but it stunned the world. Those words we heard.
Joe Biden: (05:09)
You know the reason I decided to run for president and I know that Debbie knows this. I hadn’t planned on running ever again after my son died. But when I saw those folks coming out of those woods I thought, “How in God’s name, how in God’s name can I remain silent?” And I said at the time it was somewhat not criticized but people didn’t think it was… Well, I don’t know what it was. When I said, “I think we’re in a battle for the soul of America,” I think we are.
Joe Biden: (05:47)
What I saw at Charlottesville and the president’s response to it is why I went to Gettysburg Battlefield of Pennsylvania last week. Because I thought there was need to stand up to hate in America and urge as Lincoln did to come together as a nation. Well, I’ve learned hate never goes away, it only hides. It never goes away, and if you’re given oxygen it comes out from one of the rocks, it grows. We need to be clear from the president going down in this country, there is no place for hate in America, period, none, it will not be tolerated.
Joe Biden: (06:37)
But President Trump revels in division and chaos to do anything to distract us from focusing on his failures to deal with this virus and to protect the nation. He’s still living in a dream world. He keeps telling us that this virus is going to disappear like America. He said, I think last night in his town hall, I didn’t have the pleasure of hearing it, I was doing one myself. He said, “We have turned the corner.” And my grandfather was sitting in my chair where he said, “He’s gone around the bunny.”
Joe Biden: (07:24)
Turned the corner? My Lord. It’s not disappearing, in fact it’s on the rise again. It’s getting worse as predicted. And we all know the terrible price this nation has paid. Lives lost, unemployment way up, across Michigan and the country folks are worried about making their next rent payment and mortgage payment. Or their healthcare will be ripped away in the middle of a pandemic that you worked so damn hard, Gary, to keep. Worried about…
Joe Biden: (08:01)
And we talked about this, Alexia. Kids in school, are they able to get back to school? More than 215,000 Americans, I think it’s 217 as of this morning, Americans have died from COVID-19. And experts have said, and I’ve been saying for the last month and a half that nearly another 200,000 lives are likely to be lost in the coming months between now and the first of the year if we continue to refuse to follow science. Because he refused to embracing wearing a mask, how many times on television have you seen him make fun of Biden wearing a mask? Because he refuses to practice social distancing he puts his supporters in such jeopardy. It’s estimated…
Joe Biden: (09:01)
It’s estimated by his own folks, if we just wore masks nationally, almost 100,000 lives would be saved in the next few months. His own director of CDC said while we’re waiting for a vaccine, even if we had a vaccine, this will prevent more deaths between now and the end of January than a vaccine would. Know what’s really sad about all this? And I’ve been talking about this, but every time I repeat it, I get more… Well, I’m not very happy.
Joe Biden: (09:49)
The president knew and lied about knowing. He knew in January. The intelligence community and what they call the PDB, the Presidential Daily Briefings, which I’ve sat in on hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them as vice-president. It got out that they laid out in detail to him how devastating this could be, how much life could be lost, and so on. He said he was unaware of it. Didn’t read those reports. Well, that surprised no one, he didn’t read the reports, but he didn’t read the reports. And everybody said, “Well, maybe he didn’t.”
Joe Biden: (10:38)
But then as was acknowledged because of his ego, he wanted to impress a famous journalist, he thought he could change his mind about his view of him, he did a long interview with Bob Woodward. Bob Woodward, a renowned journalist, taped the interview with him, extensive interviews, hours. And he taped an interview where Trump said he knew this disease was deadly, significantly worse than the flu. But that’s not what he told you. That’s not what he told the public.
Joe Biden: (11:25)
And the reason he lied again to the American people? Well, he said he didn’t want to panic the American people. Americans don’t panic. Donald Trump panicked. That’s who panicked. As a consequence of his overwhelming lying, negligence, and irresponsible action, how many empty chairs were around the kitchen table this morning or the dining room table last night? How many? How many women or men leaned over when they got in bed last night and reached over to touch their husband and wife, and they weren’t there? You all know what loss is. It’s profound, especially when it was avoidable, much of it.
Joe Biden: (12:29)
But mishandling the pandemic isn’t enough for Trump. On top of that, he’s still trying to take away your healthcare. Trump’s still determined in the midst of this pandemic. And by the way, if projections… Pray, God, they’re not right, Father. But if they’re right, though, in the next several months, there’ll be over 200,000 additional deaths. That would be in one year 400,000 Americans would have died. That’s more than lost in all of World War II, hear me? World War II was four years. More American souls would have been lost than in World War II.
Joe Biden: (13:20)
What’s he doing? He’s still determined to destroy the Affordable Care Act. This isn’t hyperbole. Just like your opponent calls it a disaster. Talk about a disaster, there’s a disaster. The guy is 2000% or 200%, whatever it is with Trump. Hope everybody remembers. Look, as I said, this isn’t hyperbole. It’s real, as real as it gets. On November 10th the United States Supreme Court will hear the Trump administration make the case that the Affordable Care Act should be struck down in its entirety.
Joe Biden: (14:05)
I know everybody thinks they know, but I just want to remind you 10 million of you have already lost your health insurance because your employer’s health insurance, they’ve gone out of business. 10 million Americans already without health insurance. If Trump gets his way, 20 million more Americans will lose their health care. That’s God awful. In the midst of this God awful economic crisis, 100 million Americans will lose their protections for pre-existing conditions, including more than 4 million people right here in Michigan. Lifetime limits on benefits will be back.
Joe Biden: (14:56)
And by the way, a lot of you’ve been through what I’ve been through and worse. I can distinctly remember sitting on a bed with my Beau, my son, who came back from a year serving in Iraq, which this president talks about losers who serve, losers. With the same significant disease that your mom had, stage four glioblastoma. When it was diagnosed, when he got home, we asked the docs. It was only a matter of months, not if, just months. We never gave up hope. I remember watching him on that bed. He made it almost 16 months.
Joe Biden: (16:11)
Toward the end, and this is not about me, it’s about all of you, I consciously thought to myself, what would it feel like if they were able to walk in and say, “Mr Biden, you’ve outrun your insurance coverage. Suffer the last two or three months in pain on your own. Lots of luck.” Because that’s what was happening before.
Joe Biden: (16:49)
Insurers, if they win, and that’s what this court packing going on now is about, insurers will no longer allow you to keep your kids on your policy till age 26 in the middle of this economic crisis. Women, once again, will be charged more for their healthcare just because they’re a woman. Older folks will be able to be charged more. And as the governor said, long-term complications from COVID will become pre-existing conditions, joining asthma, diabetes, even pregnancy is a preexisting condition before. It could allow insurers to jack up your premiums or deny coverage altogether.
Joe Biden: (17:34)
Getting rid of Obamacare is why they’re racing to get this nominee through the Supreme Court. Make no mistake about it. Trump’s made it clear from the beginning, as your opponent has. He wants to get rid of Obamacare in its entirety. And with this nominee, he’s made that incredibly clear, as well. Michigan deserves so much better. Deserves leaders like-
Joe Biden: (18:03)
Michigan deserves so much better, deserves leaders like Gary and Debbie Stabenow, public servants who lead with decency and honor, always look out for your needs, will think about how to ease the burden on your family.
Joe Biden: (18:22)
That’s the sort of leader you’ve got in Gretchen, in Governor Whitmer, as well. When she was in the state senate, she led the charge to secure Obamacare Medicaid expansion for more than 800,000 Michiganders. Think about this now. Some of those States, Republican governors did not expand, even though the federal government was paying for it front end. There’s millions of people have no coverage.
Joe Biden: (18:50)
After we passed Obamacare with the help of Debbie and Gary, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, we were able to reduce the uninsured rate by 55% here in Michigan. And if I have the honor of becoming your president, we’ll build on the Affordable Care Act, no matter what they do.
Joe Biden: (19:11)
You can choose to keep a private plan, if you still have one. Because some of the private plans negotiated, the UAW owners are good plans. But we’ll also offer you a Medicare like public health insurance option. It’ll force private insurers to keep premiums low and offer better coverage because, for the first time, they’ll have to compete for your business against a public insurer that doesn’t have the profit motive in mind.
Joe Biden: (19:38)
If you choose this public option or a private plan will increase subsidies for your premiums, so that they’re lower. You can afford our plans with lower deductibles, lower out-of-pocket spending. An independent analysis found that my plan will slash the cost of prescription drugs by 60%. Not a liberal think tank, serious folks looking at this. Here’s the bottom line. My plan lowers healthcare costs and gets universal coverage quickly at a time when Michigan families desperately are going to need that relief and they need it now. Families are reeling right now. They need a lifeline now. I promise you. When I’m president I’ll take care of your health coverage, the same way I would my own family.
Joe Biden: (20:29)
I grew up like a lot of people in this state. In Scranton, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware in a three bedroom, split level home with four kids and a grandpop living with us. I can remember how my dad, when we moved from Scranton for no work, we moved down to Delaware. He stayed with my grandpop for a year, he came home every weekend. Finally got a job. We got an apartment we lived in, and ended up being section eight housing years later, but it was decent. We were happy.
Joe Biden: (20:59)
It took my dad about three years to get a job good enough that he could actually buy a home. And he bought that small home at the time a suburban sprawl was going on. There were 70 homes like it, three and four bedrooms homes. But the walls were thin. I look back and I wonder how my mom and dad did it, come to think of it. I remember one night, my dad, you could hear him restlessly rolling in bed. Our bedroom was next to it. And I asked my mom the next morning, what’s wrong with Dad? She said, “Honey, it’s complicated.” I said, “What’s the matter, Mom?” I was 14 years old. She said, “Well, his company just lost his health insurance. We’re going to be okay, honey.”
Joe Biden: (21:42)
Think of all the people rolling around in bed tonight, tomorrow night, last night. Trump doesn’t see things this way because he only sees the world from a Park Avenue perspective. I’m not being a wise guy, I’m being literal. He can only see from his penthouse, Wall Street.
Joe Biden: (22:10)
I see the world from where I grew up like many of you. I grew up in Scranton, as I said. My mom taught me. My mom had a backbone like a ramrod. My mom taught me. She said, “Joey, look at me, look at me.” Because I used to stutter. She said, “Nobody’s better than you, Joey, but everybody’s your equal.” That’s how I was raised.
Joe Biden: (22:33)
I think you and I, we measure people, whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, we measure people on the strength of their character. Honesty, decency, recognizing that some things are bigger than just your self-interest. That’s what America is about. That’s who we are. It’s about family, respect, decency, honor, opportunity. Our families and yours, we weren’t asking for anything. Just a shot, just an even shot. Given a shot, the American people have never, ever, ever, ever, ever let their country down.
Joe Biden: (23:13)
That’s what Michigan needs now, a shot to come back strong. That’s what you needed 10 years ago in your automobile industry, the heart and soul of Michigan was on the brink. My state used to be an auto state. Small population, we had the highest percentage of auto workers of any state in the nation because we had less than a million people. The largest General Motors and Chrysler plants outside of Michigan. But you all remember like I do. You remember what it was like yesterday.
Joe Biden: (23:52)
When Barack and I decided we had to bet on Michigan, remember all the blow back even from some Democrats. We can’t compete. We bet on auto workers, we bet on the UAW and they came through and it paid off. For real. The industry wasn’t in trouble because of the auto workers, it was in trouble because of management decisions. Over the objective of many, we stepped in and rescued the automobile industry, General Motors and Chrysler, saving over 1 million jobs by that one deal.
Joe Biden: (24:36)
Don’t ever underestimate the American worker. By contrast on Donald Trump’s watch, we were in a nationwide manufacturing recession before COVID struck. And we’re now down nearly 650,000 manufacturing jobs across the country now. Now, and it’s rising. In fact, Donald Trump will be the first president in modern American history to leave office, God willing, to leave office with fewer jobs than he had when he started in office. Last one was Herbert Hoover. For real.
Joe Biden: (25:19)
Folks, we can bring this economy back. I’m positive of it. I’m optimistic about it. We know how to go about doing it. An independent analysis on Wall Street, Moody’s, a well-respected Wall Street firm, has done an in-depth analysis of every aspect of my plan, as well as his. You know what their conclusion was? This is Moody’s, now. That my plan will create 18.6 million jobs, 7 million more than his would, and $1 trillion more in economic growth than the president’s plan, by investing in people.
Joe Biden: (26:09)
By the way, you see these ads here in Michigan, Biden’s going to raise your taxes. Once again, flat, unadulterated lie. No one who makes less than $400,000 a year will pay a penny more. If you make more than that, you’re going to start paying at the rate you paid under the administration of George W. Bush at 39.6%. But I’m going to ask big corporations and the very wealthy to pay their fair share for a change. Trump’s more than $2 trillion tax cut, I’m going to roll back 1.5 trillion of that in the giveaways to the biggest companies in the top 1%. And the money we raise, we’ll invest in working people, in growing the middle class. And this time, make sure we bring everybody along, black, white, Hispanic-
Joe Biden: (27:03)
This time, make sure we bring everybody along. Black, white, Hispanic, disabled. Everyone comes along. Outside economists said my plan will create millions of good paying union jobs in manufacturing. We’re going to invest in building more resilient infrastructure. Remember the president said, “I have an infrastructure plan.” In 2017, and then 2018 and 2019, now 2020. He doesn’t have any plan. I’m going to build a resilient infrastructure, creating good paying jobs. Building roads and bridges and ports. One million new jobs and affordable housing units. Should be one million new affordable housing units. High-speed broadband for every household. A 100 billion dollars to rebuild our crumbling schools. One of the reasons we can’t send our kids back to schools. A lot of them aren’t even safe now.
Joe Biden: (28:03)
We’re going to retrofit as we started our administration when the president allowed me to run the recovery act. We’re going to retrofit four million buildings and weatherize two billion homes. That alone will save 100s of thousands of millions of barrels of oil. It’s all going to be done by certified union labor. I’m going to end Trump’s incentives. He talks about his trade deals. As Gary and Debbie know in his trade deals he incentivized people to send jobs abroad.
Joe Biden: (28:47)
Abroad. More taking their jobs overseas. One thing more the United States Government owns and maintains enormous fleet of vehicles. I promise you, the president controls that. I’m going to convert those government fleets into clean vehicles made of and sourced right here in the United States of America. I’m going to expand the capacity so the United States, not China leads the world in clean vehicle production.
Joe Biden: (29:17)
We’re going to make it easier to America’s companies to switch from fuel inefficient vehicles. We’re going to build a network of 500,000 charging stations all across the country. Offer consumer rebates to swap old or fuel inefficient vehicles for new clean American made models. Together, this will mean according to the estimates, more than a million good new jobs in the American auto release, because we will own the electric vehicle market in the world.
Joe Biden: (29:48)
Folks I guarantee you, we can do this, but we have to come together. I remember you and I talking gov when I was running for the nomination in my same way to unite the country. You’re the only one whp thought I was right. That used to be the old days. Yeah, Joe, you got a lot done. You used to walk across to get a lot done, but everything’s changed. Well folks, if we can’t unite the country, we’re in trouble.
Joe Biden: (30:23)
America and our system runs on consensus. Compromise is not a dirty word. I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I’m going to govern as an American president. I’ll work as hard for those who don’t support me as those who do. I do not see American terms of red and blue. Bringing the country together, that’s the job of a president. It’s a duty to care. To care for everybody. We can be so much better than what we see.
Joe Biden: (31:04)
We can be what you are at our best, when we’re the United States of America. Folks, you have to vote and people are turning out here in this state and overwhelming numbers around the country. If you have any doubt, go visit iwillvote.com/and-i. Early voting is happening now. Every city and township clerk’s office in the state. You can register to vote in one quick stop. You have your ballot already, mail it or drop it in a Dropbox today.
Joe Biden: (31:47)
Don’t wait, vote, and don’t just vote for me and Senator Harris and Gary as well. Vote all the way down the line. We’re going to need Gary back in the United States Senate, looking out for Michigan families because we’re going to win back the United States Senate. When we do, we’re going to change things. Folks, this time I really mean this to restore the soul of America. To rebuild the backbone of this country, the middle class.
Joe Biden: (32:23)
This time is I’d bring everybody along. Debbie, may remember my colleagues in the caucus used to wonder kid me because I quote President Kennedy. When he was about going to the moon and famous speech, everybody remembers the different parts of it. The line I remember more than anything else. He answered the question that wasn’t, it was implicitly being asked, “Why are you doing this?” He said, “Because we’d refused to postpone. I refuse to postpone the work America must do now to bring this country back.”
Joe Biden: (33:01)
There’s nothing beyond our capacity. There’s no limit to American future. The only thing that can tear America part is America itself. No other country can do that. Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Well, we have to let them know who we are. What we stand for, we choose hope over fear, unity over division, science over fiction. And yes, truth over lies. Folks thank you and may God bless you and may God protect our troops. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.