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Barack Obama defended his health care plan during a debate in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 7, 2008. His opponents have attacked his plan as "government-run" health care.
"No. 1, let me just repeat, if you've got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it," Obama said. "All I'm going to do is help you to lower the premiums on it. You'll still have choice of doctor."
Obama is accurately describing his health care plan here. He advocates a program that seeks to build on the current system, rather than dismantling it and starting over.
Obama's plan essentially takes today's system and seeks to expand it to the uninsured. It creates national pools for individuals to buy their own cheaper insurance. It increases eligibility for the poor and children to enroll in initiatives like Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. And it has several strategies to rein in costs for everyone, such as streamlining medical record-keeping and emphasizing preventive care.
Obama has said he would like his plan to be universal, in that everyone has health care coverage. But currently it includes a mandate only for children. Obama has said that he did not include a mandate for adults so as not to penalize people with modest incomes.
It remains to be seen whether Obama's plan will actually be able to achieve the cost savings it promises for the health care system. But people who want to keep their current insurance should be able to do that under Obama's plan. His description of his plan is accurate, and we rate his statement True.
PolitiFact.com, He says universal, but it's no guarantee , Nov. 15, 2007
CNN via New York Times, Democratic debate transcript, Nov. 15, 2007
New Republic via CBS News, Cautious Candidate, Cautious Plan, June 3, 2007
Barack Obama campaign, Health Care Plan
New Hampshire Public Radio, Interview with Barack Obama, Nov. 21, 2007
Lowell (Mass.) Sun, "For some, health insurance reform not so affordable," Aug. 26, 2007
Boston Business Journal, "Thousands balk at health law sign-up mandate," Nov. 12, 2007
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