Richardson outlined his universal health care plan Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson revealed his plan to provide universal health care to all Americans in a speech on Tuesday, focusing on making health insurance affordable, improving the quality of care and giving people choices in their coverage.
"My plan provides choices - including the choice to keep your current coverage - and existing programs to expand coverage options," Richardson said in a statement. "We spend over 2.2 trillion dollars a year on health care in this country. We all know that we're not getting what we've paid for."
Richardson said he doesn't plan to establish a "one-size-fits-all system" to cover all Americans, but will instead create five different options to cover people based on age and economic status. To pay for it, he said, families and businesses will share the costs. There will also be a stronger focus on disease prevention, as well as a more concerted effort to control skyrocketing interest rates in order to help keep prices low.
Richardson criticized President Bush for threatening to veto legislation that would expand health insurance for poor children, calling his decision "predictably perverse."
"Despite Republican hand-wringing about the cost of universal care, it is clear that the cost of doing something—in lives and dollars—pales in comparison to the cost of doing nothing," he said. "We cannot afford a healthcare system that doesn’t cover every American. The cost to our economy and the well-being of our people is just too high."
– CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich