06 January 2008

Obama on mandates

From the ABC Democratic debate:
CLINTON: ... You know, Senator Obama has been -- as the Associated Press described it, he could have a pretty good debate with himself, because four years ago, he was for single-payer health care. Then he moved toward a rejection of that, a more incremental approach. Then he was for universal health care. Then he proposed a health care plan that doesn't cover everybody.

OBAMA: I have been entirely consistent in my position on health care. What I said -- and I have said on the campaign trail this time -- is if I were designing a system from scratch, I would set up a single- payer system, because we could gain enormous efficiencies from it.

Our medical care costs twice as much per capita as any other advanced nation.

But what I've also said is that, given that half of the people are getting, already, employer-based health care, that it would be impractical for us to do so, which is why I put forward a plan that says anybody can get health care that is the same as the health care that I have as a member of Congress -- similar to the plans that you and John have offered.

We do have a philosophical difference. John and yourself believe that, if we do not mandate care, if we don't force the government to get to -- if the government does not force taxpayers to buy health care, that we will penalize them in some fashion.

I disagree with that because, as I go around town hall meetings, I don't meet people who are trying to avoid getting health care. The problem is, they can't afford it. And the costs are too high. And so, as a consequence, we focus on reducing costs. Now, this is a legitimate argument for us to have, but it's not true that I leave them out. Your premise is, they won't buy it even if it's affordable. I disagree with that.

No comments: