Obama "only wants your children to have health insurance."

Hillary Clinton on Thursday, February 28th, 2008 in a campaign event in Hanging Rock, Ohio.

His plan includes adults

Sen. Hillary Clinton made a strong new charge against Sen. Barack Obama on Feb. 28, 2008, suggesting that he doesn't care about the health needs of adults.

"I want ... each and every member of the family to have health insurance," she said at a campaign event in Hanging Rock, Ohio. "My opponent only wants your children to have health insurance. I don't think that's smart."

There's been lots of discussion about the differences in the candidates' health plans, and there are uncertainties about cost estimates and whether the plans could achieve universal coverage. (We have explored the health plans in detail in this article and in previous Truth-O-Meter items on Obama's claim that Clinton would force people to buy insurance even if they can't afford it and on Clinton's claim that Obama's plan would leave out 15-million people).

But with her new claim, Sen. Clinton makes her strongest attack yet, suggesting that Obama is ignoring the needs of everyone except children.

We find that is not an accurate description of Obama's plan.

When PolitiFact asked the Clinton campaign about her comment, spokesman Mo Elleithee said Clinton was referring to the major difference between their plans: She would require everyone to purchase insurance (a mandate that has been likened to state requirements that drivers buy car insurance), while Obama only requires parents buy insurance for their children.

Clinton says the mandate is the best way to achieve universal coverage. But Obama says it could penalize people with modest incomes. If premiums don't drop enough after all his reforms are implemented, people would still be unable to afford insurance. If a law mandates they buy it anyway, they probably won't, he contends.

We won't go into all the details of Obama's plan, but it includes several elements that apply to adults:

• It would expand Medicaid, the federal program that provides health coverage for the poor.

• It would provide income-related subsidies to help people who don't qualify for Medicaid but still need financial help to buy coverage.

• It would require employers to provide health insurance for their workers, or contribute to the cost of the insurance.

If Clinton had said that Obama's plan "does not mandate insurance for adults," she would have been on solid ground. But she didn't and, given that Obama's plan has elements to expand coverage for adults, it is simply wrong to say he " only wants your children to have health insurance." We find her statement to be False.