Obama Working on Plan for Universal Health Coverage
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Thursday said he expects to release a health care proposal that would aim to provide coverage for all U.S. residents by 2012, the Des Moines Register reports.
Obama, who was speaking at a town hall meeting in Mason City, Iowa, said the proposal would include federal subsidies for uninsured residents (Clayworth/Beaumont, Des Moines Register, 4/6). It also likely would include preventive health programs (Glover, AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/5).
Obama said he is working to "build a movement for change so that when a president is elected there is actually a constituency and a consensus that is built so we can move the agenda through Congress" (Glover, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 4/6).
According to Obama, money currently spent on outdated medical record-keeping and expensive treatment for preventable illnesses could be used to expand insurance coverage to additional U.S. residents. He added that he is open to raising taxes to pay for domestic programs but will not know if it is necessary until he has a specific proposal.
Obama said, "We shouldn't just put more money into a system that isn't efficient," adding, "We can save huge amounts of money and put that money into providing basic health insurance or subsidies to purchase health insurance" for the uninsured. "We can create universal health care in this country," he said (Des Moines Register, 4/6).
Obama said that, although he favors a single-payer health care system, he likely would not propose such a system for the U.S. because of the complex, employer-sponsored system currently in place. Obama plans to hold similar meetings across the nation to gauge public opinion on the issue and will announce his proposal in a couple of months, according to the AP/Union-Tribune (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/5).