Clinton, Obama focus on healthcare

February 22, 2008 7:18:17 PM PST
There's no question health care coverage is on the minds of a lot of Americans. Last night, Hillary Clinton called it her number one issue. In last night's debate health care was the spark that lit up the longest argument of the evening. Senator Barack Obama stressed the similarities. "Ninety-five percent of our plans are similar. We both want to set up a system in which any person is going to be able to get coverage that is as good as we have as members of Congress," said Senator Barack Obama (D) Illinois. Hillary Clinton went after the differences. "You chose to put forth a health care plan that will leave out at least 15 million people. That's a big difference," said Senator Hillary Clinton (D) New York. And that is the biggest difference. Clinton's plan mandates that everyone buy in; Obama's plan only mandates children be covered. "He has a mandate for parents to be sure to insure their children I agree with that I just know that if we don't go and require everyone to have health insurance the health insurance industry will still game the system," said Senator Clinton. "If it turns out that some are gaming, the system then we can impose potentially some penalties on them for gaming the system. But the notion that somehow I'm interested in leaving out 15 million people without health insurance is simply not true," said Senator Obama. Obama insists adults will buy into his plan because it'll be affordable. Our partners at FactCheck.org found that experts agree "greater compliance will come with mandates." But it's also true that Massachusetts has a mandated universal healthcare program and has had to exempt some of its citizens because they can't afford the coverage. San Francisco State political science professor Robert Smith liked the argument. "I think it was a very good substantive exchange," said political science professor Robert Smith. But adds both candidates and the Democratic Party are committed to universal healthcare. "It's really an argument about details which will be worked out in the legislative process in any event," said Smith. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told me the same. "We're not talking about a big difference, we're talking about a value system that they both share which is all Americans should have access to quality health care," said Speaker of the House (D) Nancy Pelosi. FactCheck.org found that both plans are a lot alike. They also found that both are lacking in the kinds of details that could better define their differences. Next Tuesday will be the final debate before the March 4th primaries in Texas and Ohio.

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