2008 Democratic Debate in Cleveland: on Health Care


Barack Obama: Young adults up to age 25 can be covered under parentsí plan

CLINTON: About 20% of the people who are uninsured have the means to buy insurance. Theyíre often young people who think theyíre immortal.

OBAMA: Which is why I cover them.

CLINTON: Except when the illness or the accident strikes. And what Sen. Obama has said, that then, once you get to the hospital, youíll be forced to buy insurance, I donít think thatís a good idea. We ought to plan for it, and we ought to make sure we cover everyone. That is the only way to get to universal health care coverage. But if we donít even have a plan to get there, and we start out by leaving people, youíll never ever control costs, improve quality, and cover everyone.

OBAMA: With respect to the young people, my plan specifically says that up until the age of 25 you will be able to be covered under your parentsí insurance plan, so that cohort that Sen. Clinton is talking about will, in fact, have coverage.

Source: [X-ref Clinton] 2008 Democratic Debate in Cleveland Feb 26, 2008

Barack Obama: Hillaryís plan must either be enforced, or leave out people

CLINTON: Sen. Obama has consistently said that I would force people to have health care whether they could afford it or not. My plan will cover everyone and it will be affordable. And on many occasions, independent experts have concluded exactly that.

Source: 2008 Democratic Debate in Cleveland Feb 26, 2008

Barack Obama: Universal health care means anyone who wants it can get it

CLINTON: I think itís imperative that we stand as Democrats for universal health care. Iíve staked out a claim for that. Sen. Edwards did. Others have. But Sen. Obama has not.

OBAMA: Well, look, I believe in universal health care, as does Sen. Clinton. And the point of the debate, is that Sen. Clinton repeatedly claims that I donít stand for universal health care. And, you know, for Sen. Clinton to say that, I think, is simply not accurate. Every expert has said that anybody who wants health care under my plan will be able to obtain it. President Clintonís own secretary of Labor has said that my plan does more to reduce costs and as a consequence makes sure that the people who need health care right now, all across America, will be able to obtain it. And we do more to reduce costs than any other plan thatís been out there.

CLINTON: [Leaving out a mandate is the same as saying] that we shouldnít try to get everyone into health insurance.

Source: 2008 Democratic Debate in Cleveland Feb 26, 2008

Barack Obama: Insurers are happy to have a mandate; issue is affordability

OBAMA: If we donít know the level of subsidies that [Hillaryís plan is] going to provide, then you can have a situation, which we are seeing right now in the state of Massachusetts, where people are being fined for not having purchased health care but choose to accept the fine because they still canít afford it, even with the subsidies. And they are then worse off. They then have no health care and are paying a fine above and beyond that. And the last point I would make is, the insurance companies actually are happy to have a mandate. The insurance companies donít mind making sure that everybody has to purchase their product. Thatís not something theyíre objecting to.

CLINTON: And under my plan, it is affordable because, number one, we have enough money in our plan. A comparison of the plans like the ones weíre proposing found that actually I would cover nearly everybody at a much lower cost than Sen. Obamaís plan.

Source: 2008 Democratic Debate in Cleveland Feb 26, 2008

Barack Obama: Voluntary universal participation, like in Medicare Part B

OBAMA: Her mandate is not a mandate for the government to provide coverage to everybody; it is a mandate that every individual purchase health care.

CLINTON: [Obamaís plan] would be as though Franklin Roosevelt said letís make Social Security voluntary --letís let everybody get in it if they can afford it--or if Pres. Johnson said letís make Medicare voluntary. Now, if you want to say that we shouldnít try to get everyone into health insurance, thatís a big difference.

OBAMA: I believe that if we make it affordable, people will purchase it. In fact, Medicare Part B is not mandated, it is voluntary. And yet people over 65 choose to purchase it, Hillary, and the reason they choose to purchase it is because itís a good deal. And if people end up seeing a plan that is affordable for them, I promise you they are snatching it up because they are desperate to get health care. And thatís what I intend to provide as president of the United States.

Source: 2008 Democratic Debate in Cleveland Feb 26, 2008

Barack Obama: Mandating kidsí insurance ok; mandating adults has problems

CLINTON: Sen. Obama has a mandate in his plan. Itís a mandate on parents to provide health insurance for their children. Thatís about 150 million people.

OBAMA: I have no objection to Sen. Clinton thinking that her approach is superior. But we still donít know how Sen. Clinton intends to enforce a mandate.

CLINTON: Sen. Obama would enforce the mandate by requiring parents to buy insurance for their children.

OBAMA: This is true.

CLINTON: If you have a mandate, it has to be enforceable. So thereís no difference here.

OBAMA: No, there is a difference. I do provide a mandate for children, because we have created programs in which we can have greater assurance that those children will be covered at an affordable price. But we donít want to put adults in a situation in which, on the front end, we are mandating them, we are forcing them to purchase insurance, and if the subsidies are inadequate, the burden is on them, and they will be penalized. And that is what Sen. Clintonís plan does.

Source: 2008 Democratic Debate in Cleveland Feb 26, 2008

Hillary Clinton: Include everyone, to avoid cherry-picking and its hidden tax

CLINTON: Sen. Obamaís plan does not cover everyone. It would leave, give or take, 15 million people out.

OBAMA: Sen. Clinton suggests that I want to leave 15 million people out. I dispute it, and I think it is inaccurate. The reason she thinks that there are more people covered under her plan than mine is because of a mandate.

CLINTON: The difference between Sen. Obama and myself is that I know, from the work Iíve done on health care for many years, that if everyoneís not in the system we will continue to let the insurance companies do whatís called cherry picking--pick those who get insurance and leave others out. We will continue to have a hidden tax, so that when someone goes to the emergency room without insurance-- 15 million or however many--that amount of money that will be used to take care of that person will be then spread among all the rest of us. In my plan there is enough money to provide the kind of subsidies so that everyone would be able to afford it.

Source: 2008 Democratic Debate in Cleveland Feb 26, 2008

Hillary Clinton: Without a universal mandate, itís not universal health care

CLINTON: I think itís imperative that we stand as Democrats for universal health care. Iíve staked out a claim for that. Sen. Edwards did. Others have. But Sen. Obama has not.

OBAMA: Well, look, I believe in universal health care, as does Sen. Clinton. And the point of the debate, is that Sen. Clinton repeatedly claims that I donít stand for universal health care. And, you know, for Sen. Clinton to say that, I think, is simply not accurate. Every expert has said that anybody who wants health care under my plan will be able to obtain it. President Clintonís own secretary of Labor has said that my plan does more to reduce costs and as a consequence makes sure that the people who need health care right now, all across America, will be able to obtain it.

Source: 2008 Democratic Debate in Cleveland Feb 26, 2008

Hillary Clinton: Bottom line is cost; mine is more affordable than Obamaís

OBAMA: If we donít know the level of subsidies that [Hillaryís plan is] going to provide, then you can have a situation, which we are seeing right now in the state of Massachusetts, where people are being fined for not having purchased health care but choose to accept the fine because they still canít afford it, even with the subsidies. And they are then worse off.

CLINTON: And under my plan, it is affordable because, number one, we have enough money in our plan. A comparison of the plans like the ones weíre proposing found that actually I would cover nearly everybody at a much lower cost than Sen. Obamaís plan because we would not only provide these health care tax credits, but I would limit the amount of money that anyone ever has to pay for a premium to a low percentage of your income. So it will be affordable.

OBAMA: It is just not accurate to say that Sen. Clinton does more to control costs than mine. That is not the case. There are many experts who have concluded that she does not.

Source: 2008 Democratic Debate in Cleveland Feb 26, 2008

Hillary Clinton: Healthcare without mandate is like voluntary Social Security

CLINTON: I know that parents who get sick have terrible consequences for their children. So you can insure the children, and then youíve got the bread-winner who canít afford health insurance or doesnít have it for him or herself. And in fact, it would b as though Franklin Roosevelt said letís make Social Security voluntary--letís let everybody get in it if they can afford it--or if Pres. Johnson said letís make Medicare voluntary. What we have said is that at the point of employment, at the point of contact with various government agencies, we would have people signed up. Itís like when you get a 401(k), itís your employer. The employer automatically enrolls you. Now, if you want to say that we shouldnít try to get everyone into health insurance, thatís a big difference, because I believe if we donít have universal health care, we will never provide prevention.

OBAMA: I believe that if we make it affordable, people will purchase it. In fact, Medicare Part B is not mandated, it is voluntary.

Source: 2008 Democratic Debate in Cleveland Feb 26, 2008

Hillary Clinton: Obamaís plan includes mandate on 150 million parents

CLINTON: Sen. Obama has a mandate in his plan. Itís a mandate on parents to provide health insurance for their children. Thatís about 150 million people who would be required to do that.

OBAMA: We still donít know how Sen. Clinton intends to enforce a mandate. The question is, are we going to make sure that it is affordable for everybody? And thatís my goal when Iím president.

CLINTON: You know, Sen. Obama has a mandate. He would enforce the mandate by requiring parents to buy insurance for their children.

OBAMA: This is true.

CLINTON: If you have a mandate, it has to be enforceable. So thereís no difference here.

OBAMA: No, there is a difference. I do provide a mandate for children, because, number one, we have created a number of programs in which we can have greater assurance that those children will be covered at an affordable price. [But for adults, a mandate would] force them to purchase insurance, or they will be penalized. And that is what Sen. Clintonís plan does.

Source: 2008 Democratic Debate in Cleveland Feb 26, 2008

Hillary Clinton: Many uninsured are young & donít think they need coverage

CLINTON: About 20% of the people who are uninsured have the means to buy insurance. Theyíre often young people who think theyíre immortal.

OBAMA: Which is why I cover them.

CLINTON: Except when the illness or the accident strikes. And what Sen. Obama has said, that then, once you get to the hospital, youíll be forced to buy insurance, I donít think thatís a good idea. We ought to plan for it, and we ought to make sure we cover everyone. That is the only way to get to universal health care coverage. But if we donít even have a plan to get there, and we start out by leaving people, youíll never ever control costs, improve quality, and cover everyone.

OBAMA: With respect to the young people, my plan specifically says that up until the age of 25 you will be able to be covered under your parentsí insurance plan, so that cohort that Sen. Clinton is talking about will, in fact, have coverage.

Source: 2008 Democratic Debate in Cleveland Feb 26, 2008

  • The above quotations are from Democratic debate, just prior to Ohio primary, in Cleveland, February 26, 2008..
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Health Care.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
  • Click here for more quotes by Hillary Clinton on Health Care.
  • Click here for more quotes by Barack Obama on Health Care.
2016 Presidential contenders on Health Care:
  Republicans:
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Carly Fiorina(CA)
Gov.Jim Gilmore(VA)
Sen.Lindsey Graham(SC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.John Kasich(OH)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.George Pataki(NY)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Scott Walker(WI)
Democrats:
Gov.Lincoln Chafee(RI)
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)
Sen.Bernie Sanders(VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren(MA)
Sen.Jim Webb(VA)

2016 Third Party Candidates:
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Roseanne Barr(PF-HI)
Robert Steele(L-NY)
Dr.Jill Stein(G,MA)
Please consider a donation to OnTheIssues.org!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
E-mail: submit@OnTheIssues.org
(We rely on your support!)

Page last updated: Dec 01, 2018