The momentum for major healthcare reform continued to build as Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) called on federal lawmakers to make affordable, universal healthcare coverage a reality by 2012. Obama, who has announced his plans to pursue the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, said by the end of the first term of the next president, we should have universal care in this country. Speaking at the Families USA conference in Washington, Obama said parts of President Bushs proposal to revise the tax code and redirect federal funds to states to improve access to private health insurance are interesting, but he said the proposal doesnt go far enough. We have to act bold, Obama said.
Meanwhile, another candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), introduced legislation to create a national single-payer healthcare system and said his bill has the backing of 100 members of Congress. Under the proposal, all Americans would be eligible for a national health insurance card good for all healthcare services at any facility in the country. The system would be funded by a variety of sources, including Medicare and Medicaid funds, a modest payroll tax on employers, and additional taxes on the richest Americans, Kucinich said. -- by Matthew DoBias and Jennifer Lubell