Kerry Forms Exploratory Committee for Possible Presidential Run, Expresses Support for Universal Health Care
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) yesterday said he plans to form an exploratory committee to raise funds for a possible presidential campaign, the Boston Globe reports. While a formal announcement of his candidacy may be months away, forming such a committee will allow Kerry to raise money and assess his support (Milligan, Boston Globe, 12/2). Making the announcement Dec. 1 on NBC's "Meet the Press," Kerry said that he sensed "deep anxiety" among Americans on a variety of issues, including health care (Benedetto/Kiely, USA Today, 12/2). Kerry said that while he supported universal health coverage, he does not favor a single-payer system, which former Vice President Al Gore (D) recently endorsed. Kerry said that "creative" ideas are needed to address health care problems, noting that Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) recently gave a "terrific speech" about instituting reforms that would build upon the current employer-based health system. Kerry added that the health care system "waste[s]" about $250 billion because of a lack of information technology. He added that "maybe $50 billion" could be saved by treating diabetes better to avoid amputations or disabilities (NBC, "Meet the Press," 12/1).
Regarding his formation of an exploratory committee, Kerry said, "It's an enormous step. Obviously, the formal announcement or candidacy is down the road some months ... but I've got to do this work to make it happen." The 2004 presidential campaign is expected to draw a "crowded field" of Democratic candidates besides Kerry, possibly including Gore, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Conn.), Sen. Tom Daschle (S.D.), Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) and Rep. Richard Gephardt (Mo.) (Howard Price, Washington Times, 12/2). Video excerpts of Kerry's comments on health care are available RealPlayer online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.