07 April 2007

Obama & single-payer

Barack Obama in New Hampshire has mostly been in huge venues — but Ron Brownstein of the LA Times writes that Obama "heard impassioned and sometimes wrenching pleas for a single-payer health care system at a forum limited to 100 people in Portsmouth on Tuesday afternoon."

Dozens of papers ran stories on Obama in Iowa, and his reluctance to spell out his position on healthcare reform. In Iowa, he told an audience that "We shouldn't just put more money into a system that isn't efficient." At another event he said,
Money saved by converting health record keeping into an electronic rather than paper process, early detection of chronic illnesses, and child wellness programs could help finance coverage for the uninsured, he said.

"We can save huge amounts of money and put that money into providing basic health insurance or subsidies to purchase health insurance for those who don't have it," Obama told about 400 supporters and Democratic activists in Fort Dodge. "We can create universal health care in this country."

... Obama has said he is open to raising income tax rates on wealthier Americans to pay for domestic priorities, including transportation, education and health care.

... Obama hinted during his later stops Thursday that his plan would likely include government assistance for some uninsured to enroll in insurance programs such as those offered to federal employees.
In another story, Obama was quoted as saying "if he was starting from zero, he would likely support a single-payer system, similar to the government-run program in Canada. But he's leery of taking such a step because the United States already has a complex and established system of employer-based health coverage."

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