Many of the features that any of our health-care plans will have are going to be the same because there are only a couple ways that we can get to universal health coverage. … We can build on the current employment situation. … The other big way of doing it … is to move towards a system that would have Medicare for everybody. … A kind of single-payer system.
I think we have to have a uniquely American solution to health care because we're a different kind of country than anybody else.
I think we will move toward requiring employers to participate the way Massachusetts does or the way California is considering. … And if you don't insure your employees you're going to have to pay some kind of per-employee amount so that everybody can be given insurance.
During this campaign I want the ideas that people have. I want to hear from you that have different perspectives about what can work.
We don't have informational technology in health care the way we need to. … I'm fighting to get electronic medical records for every American. The reason is it'll save money, time, avoid duplication.
We're going to have universal health care when I'm president. There's no doubt about that. We're going to get it done.
Kathy Byars: Why do members of Congress get the Mercedes of insurance plans and pension plans while many of their constituents are just trying to pay for the basic necessities?
Clinton: I believe that one of the ways we can get health care for everyone is to open up the federal plan that's available to members of Congress … to everybody. That would be one way that we could say to you that you have the same right as anybody in Congress
I think it is past time for the Congress to do for everybody else what we do for ourselves.
I believe we can no longer continue with Cadillac policies for people in Congress unless we give other people in America the same policies.
B.J. and Donny Jackson: How are you going to make sure that soldiers get the care they need and deserve from the VA [Department of Veterans Affairs]?
Clinton: I think we should have guaranteed mandatory funding for the VA. I don't think that the VA should be fighting every year to get enough money to take care of the people that took care of us. … I also think we have to do more to ensure the outpatient care our veterans get is as good as the acute care that they get.
What happens is that once the operation is over and the young man or young woman needs to be taken care of going forward … we drop the ball.
We've got to improve the quality and provide more funding, and let's not forget that a lot of our veterans are coming back with traumatic brain injury. … We're going to have to take care of them for a long time.
Tiffany Sumuel, via e-mail: One of the most common arguments against nationalized health care is that the quality of care and research will be negatively impacted. If health care is nationalized, what will be done to ensure and/or improve the quality of care?
Clinton: Well, I want to make clear that there is a difference between having a health-care system that provides quality affordable health care to every American and having a national health system where there's only one source of care.
There's a lot of misinformation and, frankly, a lot of scare tactics about what universal health care would mean. … That's why I started by saying that we have to reduce costs and improve quality no matter what we do.