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Tuesday, May 13, 2003


Democrat Dean Unveils Plan for Health Coverage

posted by Editor at Tuesday, May 13, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Democratic presidential contender Howard Dean is to outline a plan on Tuesday to vastly expand U.S. health care coverage, making it easier for families to afford health insurance and for small businesses to offer it to employees.

Dean, a doctor and former governor of Vermont who has promised to put health care at the heart of his 2004 White House campaign, said his plan also would penalize large companies that do not make it easy for employees to buy insurance by taking away corporate tax breaks.

"To me, health care isn't simply a policy issue, it's a moral imperative," said Dean, according to the text of a speech he will deliver on Tuesday at Columbia University in New York.

"Here, in the richest, most advanced country in the world in the 21st century, it's simply wrong for a sick child to go without seeing a doctor because her parents can't afford it," he said, noting the United States was the last of the major industrialized countries to provide universal health care.

Dean, who expanded health coverage in Vermont during his term as governor, is the second of nine Democratic contenders vying for the right to challenge President Bush (news - web sites) to release a detailed plan for health care coverage for the 41 million uninsured Americans.

His proposal would expand existing state and federal plans to allow health care coverage to every child and young adult up to age 25 while offering tax and other incentives to help working families afford insurance.

It also would organize a system for small businesses similar to the federal employee health system and allow employers to join it at lower rates.

Dean aides estimated the plan would cost about $88 billion annually, and Dean said he would pay for it by eliminating portions of Bush's tax cuts.

"We can do this if we take part of the Bush tax cuts and use it to create a practical system giving every American an affordable way to purchase health insurance," Dean said.

Democratic Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri outlined a sweeping universal coverage plan last month that he said would also help stimulate the economy by easing the health insurance burden for employers. His plan would cost more than $200 billion annually, which Gephardt would pay for by repealing Bush's tax cuts.

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry will outline his health care plans during an Iowa speech on Thursday as Democrats focus on an issue pushed into the shadows after the failure of former President Bill Clinton (news - web sites)'s proposal to pass Congress in 1994.

"We must remember that the important distinction in this election isn't between the details of the Democratic plans," said Dean. "It's the distinction between Democrats -- who view this as a moral imperative -- and President Bush, who for over two years has failed to address this issue."


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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.