The distinction between the two plan's is that Clinton's has a mandate requiring people to get health insurance; Obama's does not. Is it fair to say a plan is universal without a mandate?
There's little doubt that Obama's plan would significantly expand health care coverage. In its structure, it's not that different from Clinton's: Both leave in place employer-based private insurance; they increase access to Medicaid and SCHIP programsl they subsidize premiums for some employers; and they create pools for individuals to buy their own cheaper insurance.
But universal? Obama's plan "would get close to universal coverage," said Sara Collins, a health care expert with The Commonwealth Fund. "It's clear his goal is universal coverage," she said, noting that Obama's plan includes a mandate for children.
"But I think to get all people covered, he would have to mandate that adults get it, too."
We think Obama is pushing the envelope calling a plan without a mandate "universal." For that reason, we rate his claim Barely True.
Editor's note: This statement was rated Barely True when it was published. On July 27, 2011, we changed the name for the rating to Mostly False.