Draft of Democratic Platform Highlights Access to Health Care
On Saturday in Pittsburgh, the 186-member platform committee of the Democratic National Committee voted to approve a 51-page platform that includes a position on health care influenced by former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (O'Toole, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 8/9).
Final approval of the platform will occur later this month at the Democratic National Convention in Denver (Nicholas, Los Angeles Times, 8/10).
According to the Post-Gazette, the campaign of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) served as the "de facto editor-in-chief" of the platform, but the Clinton campaign had an influence on health care.
During the Democratic primary campaign, Clinton advocated for a mandate that all U.S. residents obtain health insurance, and Obama supported such a requirement only for children (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 8/9).
The platform does not mention an individual health insurance mandate but acknowledges that "there are different approaches within the Democratic Party about how best to achieve the commitment of universal coverage" (Los Angeles Times, 8/10).
According to the platform, Democrats are "united behind a commitment that every American man, woman and child be guaranteed to have affordable, comprehensive health care" (Woodward, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 8/10).
The platform also states, "Coverage should be made affordable for all Americans with direct financial assistance through tax credits and other means," adding, "As affordable coverage is made available, individuals should purchase health insurance and take steps to lead healthy lives."
In addition, the platform calls for a tax credit to help small businesses provide health insurance for employees (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 8/9).
Party platforms "are typically given little attention after they are adopted," but the "party's decision to embrace guaranteed health care is bound to become a leading yardstick by which Obama's presidency will be measured if he wins in November," according to the AP/Chronicle (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 8/10).