Obama Elected President; Action on Health Care an Early Priority
In the presidential election on Tuesday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)Â defeated Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), CNN.com reports.
As of Wednesday morning, Obama has 338 electoral votes and McCain has 163. Results in Indiana, Missouri and North Carolina remain undetermined. Obama has received 62 million votes, or 52% of the popular vote.Â McCain won 55 million votes, or 47% (CNN.com, 11/5).
According to nationwide exit polls conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International, 62% of voters cited the economy as their most important election issue, followed by 10% who cited the war in Iraq and 9% who cited health care (MacQuarrie/Schwartzel, "Political Intelligence," Boston Globe, 11/4).
About two-thirds of voters said that they had concerns about their ability to afford health care, exit polls found (Davis, Wall Street Journal, 11/5). A majority of voters who said that they had concerns about their ability to afford health care supported Obama, according to exit polls (Calmes/Thee, New York Times, 11/5).
According to the Wall Street Journal, with increased Democratic majorities in the Senate and House, Obama likely will "start fast, with a large economic stimulus package, legislation to fund embryonic stem cell research and an expansion" of SCHIP funded with an increase in the federal tobacco tax (Weisman/Meckler, Wall Street Journal, 11/5).
In addition, Obama likely will prioritize his health care proposal, although he might "try to take smaller bites" rather than seek to pass a comprehensive plan, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), an Obama adviser, said that the passage of health care reform legislation is more likely "if we take it a piece at a time."
House Democratic Caucus Chair Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), also an Obama adviser, said that, although health care remains an important priority, Obama might seek to pass only a "down payment" on his proposal in his first term (McManus, Los Angeles Times, 11/5).
McClatchy/Miami Herald reports that action on health care might be delayed because Obama is expected to push for an economic relief package early in his term.Â According to McClatchy/Herald, Obama is "likely to find that comprehensive change is too costly, too complicated and too dependent on a delicate consensus" (Lightman, McClatchy/Miami Herald, 11/5).
According to Bloomberg, analysts maintain that fiscal and "political realities," such as the recently enacted $700 billion bailout of Wall Street firms, also might "foil Obama's ambitions" on health care (Marcus, Bloomberg, 11/5).The Obama health care proposal would cost an estimated $1.6 trillion over 10 years, according to the Tax Policy Center (Drinkard, AP/Houston Chronicle, 11/4). 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.