Obama: Judge My Presidency on Achieving Universal Health Care

Bill Scher

Senator Barack Obama reiterated his pledge to achieve universal health care by the end of his first term as president, and urged voters to “judge” his performance on that pledge.

He downplayed policy details, saying “every four years someone trots out a white paper,” when the question is “are we able to bring a majority of people together to solve the problem now?”

Yet he said “we will be putting a very detailed plan on our website,” after a series of roundtable discussions with experts and voters during the next couple of months.

And he laid out basic principles for his health care vision.

“Everbody’s in” the plan, “employers are going to have to play or pay” — offer coverage directly or help fund coverage — and subsidies should offered to those who struggling to afford health care.

The plan should “save money,” by emphasizing prevention, chronic care management, and applying medical technology.

There should be a “pooling of cost and risk,” and money should be spent more efficiently to improve quality.

Much of that tracks what Edwards has offered, and in fact, Obama offered that Edwards’ plan is “very credible.”

When asked if additional tax revenue is needed, Obama did not dismiss the possibility, saying we need to “do whatever it takes” but noted there is much savings to be reaped with a more efficient system.

He also said he would need to “put some money on the front end in creating a new system” and then “get those savings on the back end,” emphasizing that “those savings [should] go into the pockets of families, and not just insurance companies or drug companies.”

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