November 25th, 2007
06:53 AM ET
7 years ago

Obama touts healthcare plan, Clinton camp fires back

Obama campaigned in Iowa on Saturday.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Saturday that his healthcare plan would bring costs down more than any of his opponents' plans would.

"Cost is the number one reason that 47 million Americans do not have health insurance," Obama said. "This is wrong, and it’s why my plan does more to cut the cost of health care than any other proposal in this race."

Obama said it would save the "typical family" $2,500 a year in healthcare premiums.

He added that the reason people don't have healthcare is because it's too expensive, not because they don't want it. He said that's why a mandated plan–what rivals Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are offering–won't necessarily solve the problem.

The Clinton campaign was quick to fire back.

"[Senator Obama] wrote a plan that leaves 15 million Americans without coverage," said Clinton spokesman Phil Singer in a statement. "That is unacceptable and Senator Obama should explain why he chose to leave so many people uninsured. When it comes to cutting costs, Senator Clinton's plan is just as aggressive, if not more so. The real difference is that her plan covers every American."

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– CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iowa • Race to '08
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Jim in Orlando, FL

    Obama's plan is so much more honest and genuine in addressing what American's need and want, while Hillary seems to keep saying "you haven't mandated 100%" is an absurd means to a practical solution. Hillary is cronyism personified. About as corrupt and dishinest as politicians get. You go Dems. Nominate the witch. Obama is 10 times the man, or woman, as Hillary.

    November 24, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  2. Adam, Plano, TX

    good thing Hillary's response still isn't founded in any kind of reality. Obama's plan is the best plan of any candidate.

    November 24, 2007 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  3. banko

    Desperation time for Hillary. Obama's Plan, provides universal health care. There is no comparism with the failed Clinton Health Plan in 90's

    November 24, 2007 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  4. Karen, an Independent

    Obama said "the reason people don't have it(healthcare)is because it's too expensive, not because they don't want it". Actually, I know of many who don't have it because they choose to spend their money on non-essentials. After our family of five lived on less than $40,000 for the past 30 years, I can tell you from experience it's all about how you manage your money. If the government really wants to help they should be requiring money management courses be taught from K-12. Teach the kids to fish instead of baiting them with socialist ideas. Then they'll have enough money to take care of their own needs.

    November 24, 2007 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  5. TruthSeeker, Brooklyn, NY

    http://www.factcheck.org/clinton_vs_obama.html

    Once again the Clinton camp is distorting the facts. Not surprising.

    November 24, 2007 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  6. V

    Like always, I understand him better when he makes speech. For real issues, he can't make it clear to understand because he can't stay on the topic, hard for me to follow him.

    November 24, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  7. Ken, NY

    Anyone who suggest a volunteer type health care plan vs mandatory plan will work should have his logic check. WE HAVE THAT ALREADY. IT IS CALLED HMO. The exact same stuff we had for the past several decadeds. And this is realy the Republic health care plan. If Americans were not fooled by this same tactics back in 1993, we would have a Universal Helth Care for 15 years. Does any one really think we would have the issue of expensive premium if University Health Care were in place today werw?

    November 24, 2007 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  8. Janice, Great Falls Montana

    The good news is we only have to listen to Hillary and Obama for another 12 months until President Mitt Romney wins.

    November 24, 2007 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  9. Eli, Canada

    A mandatory health care plan with decent premiums is the best way to maintain a healthy population. The government has to subsidize a bit those with very low income, but everyone has access to basic health care. Extended health plans receive contribution from employers, so employees may end up with exceptional dental and medical coverages. One care really take care of his/her health on a regular basis, not when is sick only.

    Hillary Clinton is correct.. if not mandatory, people may not prioritize health spending as important enough unless is too late.

    A healthy population is a number one issue of any developed country.. I never understood why the United States is so far behind on this. Canada is much ahead on this issue.. some less open-minded people call our health system 'socialist', but health is a national issue that deserves full attention, so this works for us.

    November 24, 2007 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  10. Len, Fallbrook, CA

    Can someone show me where in the Constitution it mentions "Universal Health Care".

    November 24, 2007 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  11. Jimenez - SA

    I agree with V – its hard to follow what he is saying. Good God people wake up! This is not the guy you are banking for a change. We all know he will never win – I am certain that this a ploy on the republicans side. They rather have him then Clinton – cuz Clinton is undefeatable and they know it.

    November 24, 2007 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  12. Lee, syracuse, ny

    That Obama health care plan is a dog's breakfast of bad ideas from Left, Right, and center, topped with an unhealthy amount of wishful thinking. If enacted it would cost Americans dearly — in higher taxes, lost jobs, reduced freedom of choice, and lower quality health care.

    Here is the detailed analysis of what is wrong with the Obama’s health care plan.
    http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=8266

    November 24, 2007 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  13. I won't give Clinton a second chance to destroy hope for healthcare.

    Three Big Problems With Hillary's Plan

    1. The health insurance industry which is funding the Clinton campaign stands to profit from a plan that mandates all citizens purchase health insurance.

    2. The Clinton plan does not explain what consequences will be suffered if any citizen does not purchase health insurance. Will they go to jail? Pay a fine? What will happen to them?

    3. Through her own report, HRC does not intend to have her plan in place until the end of her second term. We are talking about 2016. Do you want to wait that long? (Not to mention this assumes a second term will happen– Actually, I am hopeful that a first term won't happen)

    Let's wake up. This is not a good plan for us!

    November 24, 2007 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  14. Daniel, NY

    Clinton runs about 15 points better than Obama when matched-up against Republicans in a new general election poll of Kentucky!

    November 24, 2007 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  15. Taran, San Diego, CA

    Rather than the rhetoric on this blog, I would suggest interested people actually read both health care proposals. He doesn't matter who you support; facts are facts. The fact is the Clinton campaign is correct in their assertions. Obama's plan is nice and progressive, but Clinton's plan cuts costs more aggressively than Obama's plan. Both plans are fairly pragmatic, but if Obama is going to make a claim on cost cutting, he ought to look at both Hillary's and Edward's plan - as both of them create a universal coverage mandate (which ultimately brings down costs for everyone) and both aggressively attempt to cut costs (with Hillary's being the most aggressive, followed by Edward's, followed by Obama's).

    This isn't bias, it's just the facts.

    November 24, 2007 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  16. Wallace, Chicago, IL

    All, Please think and understand how this will impact us and who will win in the long term. Healthcare companies?

    I think we should understand the difference between the plans. Clinton's plan REQUIRES every American to buy health insurance, whether they can afford it or not. However, Obama's plan covers most Americans but gives us a CHOICE. Out of approx. 300 Million Americans, 15 million potentially will not be insured. Frankly, that is MUCH better than what we have today.

    Clinton's plan REQUIRES every American to have health insurance whether they want to pay for it or not.

    MANDATING healthcare? I don't think the government should dictate whether we pay for health insurance, especially if we don't want it.

    Stop giving away your freedom and think!

    November 24, 2007 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  17. Wallace, Chicago IL

    All, Please think and understand how this will impact us and who will win in the long term. Healthcare companies?

    I think we should understand the difference between the plans. Clinton's plan REQUIRES every American to buy health insurance, whether they can afford it or not. However, Obama's plan covers most Americans but gives us a CHOICE. Out of approx. 300 Million Americans, 15 million potentially will not be insured. Frankly, that is MUCH better than what we have today.

    Clinton's plan REQUIRES every American to have health insurance whether they want to pay for it or not.

    MANDATING healthcare? I don't think the government should dictate whether we pay for health insurance, especially if we don't want it.

    Stop giving away your freedom and think!

    November 24, 2007 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  18. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Universal health care is a highly desirable social goal, yet wholly unachievable under anyone's plan. Who is honest enough to say so? Not the two frontrunning socialists.

    November 25, 2007 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  19. chris Chicago, IL

    Ask Mr. Obama if he's got an answer for how the American Dollar can be the Supply and Demand equivicator for the value of everything in the entire world and at the same time the American Public can be tied down by a large foreign dent and economic detractors controlled by a largely ignorant Christian middle class.

    http://www.golden-lamp.com

    November 25, 2007 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  20. Chris, Toledo, OH

    Has it ever occurred to socialists that perhaps someone doesn't want health care, and that it should be their right to decide themselves whether they want it?
    In a free society, citizens would not be forced to be slaves to government health care. Democrats are obviously the pro-slavery party. They were in 1860, and they still are today.

    November 25, 2007 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  21. anon, new york, ny

    Obama’s health care plan is not universal (Hillary’s plan is universal), and it lacks audacity. Obama’s’ plan is like himself – full of hope but not deliverable.

    Compared to John Edwards, who had a detailed plan, and Hillary Clinton, whose fluency with the subject is unmatched among the contenders, he seemed uncertain and adrift. An Associated Press article asked, "Is Obama all style and little substance?"

    Number one, he didn't make sure everybody is in. There is perhaps no more surprising fact about Obama's plan than that it is not universal. It is certainly sold as if it is. In his speech unveiling the proposal, Obama bragged that, "[m]y plan begins by covering every American." But it doesn't. To say otherwise is rhetorical overreach, the appropriation of a popular and broadly-supported goal without an attendant mechanism for achieving it.

    There are a few ways to achieve universal health care. You can create a single-payer plan that enrolls the population automatically. This is what Canada does, and how Medicare covers the elderly. You can create an employer mandate, where the primary responsibility falls on workplaces, and smaller mandates mop up the remainder. That was the approach showcased in the Clinton reforms of the early '90s. You can create an individual mandate that charges every American with procuring health insurance, and penalizes them if they don't. This is the approach favored by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, Arnold Schwarzenegger in California, Ron Wyden in the Senate, and John Edwards in the presidential campaign. Obama's plan offers none of these approaches.
    Instead, it seeks to make care cheaper and more accessible, assuming that, if it succeeds - and that's a big if - Americans will enroll of their own volition. It is a plan with the potential to be universal, rather than a universal plan. In that respect, it is very much like Obama himself.

    Few are looking to Clinton for details, as her public record is so well-known, and her policy commitments so lengthily expressed. It is Obama who has remained a relative cipher, the interplay of his ideology and political instincts opaque. Obama’s plan lacks details, and skeptics say Obama is merely an inspiring speaker than a practical health care advocate.

    Obama’s failing, somewhat ironically, is a lack of audacity. It accepts the sectioning off of the market into the employed, the unemployed, the old, the young, and the poor. It does not consolidate the system into a coherent whole, preferring instead to preserve the patchwork quilt of programs and insurers that make health care so difficult to navigate. It does not sever the link between employment and health insurance, nor take a firm step towards single-payer, despite Obama's professed preference for such a system.

    Obama's plan is not dissimilar from Obama himself - sold with stunning rhetoric and grand hopes, but never quite delivering on the promises and potential. And so he remains the candidate of almosts.

    November 25, 2007 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  22. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    "Obama said it would save the "typical family" $2,500 a year in healthcare premiums."

    Which, of course, would only cost the "atypical family"–the kind that actually works for a living–maybe $7,500 a year.

    Come on! Does anyone believe the "something for nothing" economics implicit all these socialised medicine schemes? Does anyone believe that there's some sort of magical money-tree they can harvest to pay for all that "free" medical care? Can't imagine anyone does.

    There are only three kinds of people who are really in favor of socialised medicine: the parasites who don't care who pays as long as they get their freebies, the politicians who are always trying to buy peoples' votes with their own money, and do-gooders who'd rather their do-gooding be done with other peoples' money.

    November 25, 2007 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  23. MK, Los Angeles

    The problem with madatory health care proposals is that they do not require health insurance companies to cover anyone who wants insurance at an reasonable cost. Instead, such plans require businesses to cover employees. Anyone who has listened to the news lately knows that the reason so many big American companies are laying off workers or forcing them into "early retirement" such as GM is because the COST of their employer funded health insurance plans is bankrupting them. Senator Clinton's plan is basically to shift the problem of an out of control high cost health care system and but it on the backs of employers to do so. Businesses are not stupid; there is no way they will ever support such a ill-considered plan. The key to health care is to make it less expensive - any solution to the problem must start there.

    November 25, 2007 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Hillary should not be lecturing anyone on health care!

    November 25, 2007 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  25. Ron, TX

    Once again, Hillary Clinton jabs and attacked with some unfounded poll-tested lies.

    Obama's plan DOES offer coverage for everyone. The difference: Hillary FORCES 15 million extra people to have governmental health care coverage. Obama allows them to have a CHOICE.

    November 25, 2007 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
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