October 4th, 2008
02:40 PM ET
6 years ago

Fact Check: Obama's health care plan

Sen. Obama spoke about health care at a rally in Newport News, Virginia Saturday.
Sen. Obama spoke about health care at a rally in Newport News, Virginia Saturday.

The Statement: In the vice-presidential debate on Thursday, October 2, in St. Louis, Republican nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama proposes "to mandate health care coverage and have (a) universal, government-run program. And unless you're pleased with the way the federal government has been running anything lately, I don't think that it's going to be real pleasing for Americans to consider health care being taken over by the feds."

Get the facts!

The Facts: Obama's health care plan, as described on his campaign Web site, does include a government mandate that all children be covered by health insurance. Beyond that, while the plan is "universal" in the sense that it aims to make health care coverage available to every American, it is not "universal" in the sense that a government mandate would require coverage for every adult. On Saturday, October 4 at a rally in Newport News, Virginia, Obama said his goal is to provide "affordable, accessible health care for every single American."

The Obama plan would increase the federal government's role in health care by requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing or chronic conditions and requiring all employers other than very small businesses to offer coverage to their employees or pay part of the costs to cover them. But it would also include existing private insurance options, would use existing providers and plans and would allow people to choose their own doctors and methods of insurance. According to Obama's Web site, people who are pleased with their current health care coverage and happy with their current doctor will not have to change anything. Employers that cannot afford health care for their employees would be eligible for subsidies.

The plan does propose creating a National Health Insurance Exchange. While it is not clear exactly how the exchange would operate and who would oversee it, according to Obama's Web site people could use the exchange to choose a private plan or a new public plan similar to that offered to federal employees and members of Congress.

The Verdict: Mostly False. Obama's plan would increase government's role in health care, and mandate coverage for children, but would include existing health care systems and not mandate universal coverage. There is no evidence in the plan to support Palin's claim that health care would be "taken over by the feds."


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Fact Check • Health care • Sarah Palin
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