I have been entirely consistent in my position on health care. What I said -- and I have said on the campaign trail this time -- is if I were designing a system from scratch, I would set up a single- payer system, because we could gain enormous efficiencies from it.
OBAMA: Our medical care costs twice as much per capita as any other advanced nation.
But what I've also said is that, given that half of the people are getting, already, employer-based health care, that it would be impractical for us to do so, which is why I put forward a plan that says anybody can get health care that is the same as the health care that I have as a member of Congress -- similar to the plans that you and John have offered.
We do have a philosophical difference. John and yourself believe that, if we do not mandate care, if we don't force the government to get to -- if the government does not force taxpayers to buy health care, that we will penalize them in some fashion.
I disagree with that because, as I go around town hall meetings, I don't meet people who are trying to avoid getting health care.
OBAMA: The problem is, they can't afford it. And the costs are too high. And so, as a consequence, we focus on reducing costs.
Now, this is a legitimate argument for us to have, but it's not true that I leave them out.
Your premise is, they won't buy it even if it's affordable. I disagree with that.
Now, let me just make one last point, because you say that somehow I have not been specific. Social Security is a great example, something that you just raised, Charlie.
And here's an area where John and myself were actually quite specific and said if we are going to deal with this problem specifically, what we need to do is to raise the cap on the payroll tax so that wealthy individuals are paying a little bit more into the system.
OBAMA: Right now, somebody like Warren Buffet pays a fraction of 1 percent of his income in payroll tax, whereas the majority of the audience here pays payroll tax on 100 percent of their income.
And I've said that was not fair. You criticized me for that, which is fine. We have a disagreement on that, but that's hardly because I wasn't specific on it. I was very specific on it, and...
CLINTON: Well, but I want to go back to health care and make another point. You have a mandate in your health care plan.
OBAMA: For children.
CLINTON: You mandate parents to have health care for children.
OBAMA: That's exactly right.
CLINTON: And, obviously, you did that because you want all children covered. So...
OBAMA: Because they don't have a choice.
CLINTON: Well, they don't have a choice, and you're going to make sure that parents get health care for children. So, you know, you stopped short of going the distance to make sure that we had a system that could actually deliver health care for everyone.
But it's not only about health care. You know, I think that two weeks ago, you criticized Senator Edwards in saying that he was unelectable because he had changed positions over the course of four years, that four years ago he wasn't for universal health care; now, he is.
Well, you've changed positions within three years on, you know, a range of issues that you put forth when you ran for the Senate, and now you have changed.