Presidential hopeful Sen. Chris Dodd unveiled his version of a universal health care plan Thursday. He said it will take four years to fully implement, require no additional taxes, eliminate discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and is portable.
"I think the system (we have now) is terribly broken and everyone has to come together to fix it," said Dodd at a kitchen table discussion with a handful of Iowa residents on Thursday. "I have a great deal of confidence that I can bring people together to get this to work."
Dodd said he would phase in his universal plan days after being inaugurated and that it would cost between $50 million and $70 million to start. The majority of the transitional funding for the plan, Dodd said, would come from ending the war in Iraq — which costs about $10 billion a month. Once the plan is in place it would be financed by primarily by employer and individual premiums and contributions.
"It's not inexpensive," said Dodd. "But if we can afford $10 billion a month for the war in Iraq we can afford this."
Dodd's plan creates what he calls a health insurance marketplace called Universal HealthMart that is modeled after the current Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan.
"Everyone should have at least as good a plan as the person they send to congress," said Dodd, who explained that HealthMart would not eliminate the option of enrolling or staying enrolled in plans offered by employees. "Americans are resistant to the idea of one size fits all. I'm trying to allow for existing plans to stay in effect and give consumers options."
Dodd also pointed the fact that his plan would be movable across the country as apposed to Sen. John Edwards' plan, which Dodd criticized. He also criticized Sen. Barack Obama's plan for not being truly universal.
"I'm trying to draft something that will appeal to a broad constituency," said Dodd. "I'm not suggesting this plan is going to be written into granite, we're going to constantly work at it to tweak it and make it better but we can't wait any longer to do something."