Obama Gets Specific (and Gets Criticism)

By Lindsey Ellerson

May 29, 2007 5:11pm

ABC News’ Jonathan Greenberger Reports: In the few hours since Obama delivered his health care address, his plan has already come under fire from multiple members of his own party.

The camp of former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., wasted no time in calling the Obama plan "simply inadequate."

Edwards spokesperson Mark Kornblau elaborated in a written statement: "John Edwards has a detailed plan to make health care coverage more affordable and truly universal. He believes that incremental measures are not enough."

Sen. Hillary Clinton’s, D-N.Y., campaign took a more subtle shot at Obama, saying it wanted to "commend Senator Obama for entering the healthcare debate" but cautioning that Clinton’s goal is "to achieve true universal healthcare."

Obama, strangely enough, seemed to agree with his rivals.

In an interview with WHO-TV in Des Moines, Obama said today that his plan is only "virtually universal."

That would seem to be an odd concession, given that Obama has repeatedly promised to sign a universal health care plan into law by the end of his first term. But Obama spokesperson Bill Burton says there’s no contradiction. He says Obama’s plan is, in fact, universal, and that Obama was simply pointing out the reality that after his plan is implemented, there might be a few people on the margins who are still not covered. If this happens, Obama, Burton says, would work quickly to find a way to extend coverage to them and fulfill his promise of universal coverage.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., one of several Senate Democrats not in the race for the White House, also criticized of some parts of Obama’s plan, but vowed to keep an open mind: "…the Obama plan calls for a single, national health insurance exchange to monitor insurance companies offering coverage. While it’s important to have minimum national standards, I’m not sure creating a new federal bureaucracy is the best approach."

Obama has been criticized by some for not offering specifics yet the Illinois Senator and the aforementioned Edwards are the only candidates this campaign season who have unveiled the details of their healthcare proposal.

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