Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama today unveiled a plan he says would ensure every American has health care coverage. During a speech this morning in Iowa City, Obama said he’d maintain the private insurance system, but government would step in to essentially buy coverage for the uninsured.
"If you can’t afford this insurance, you’ll receive a subsidy to pay for it," Obama said. "..If you change jobs, your insurance will go with you." Nearly every American business would be required to pay to provide coverage to their employees. "To help pay for all of this, we will ask all but the smallest businesses who don’t make a meaningful contribution today to the health care coverage of their employees to do so," Obama said.
According to Obama, the plan also would be financed by allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for the "wealthiest Americans" to expire. Obama suggests there are ways to wring efficiencies from the current health system to help reduce costs. Obama also proposes that insurance companies no longer be allowed to deny coverage to individuals because of preexisting conditions.
A rival campaign offered a critical assessment of Obama’s proposal. A spokesman for John Edwards suggested Obama’s plan was "inadequate" and would not cover all Americans. Hillary Clinton has said she wants "universal" health care coverage but has not yet unveiled a plan to achieve that goal. Obama delivered his speech today in the University of Iowa’s medical school.