Hillary Clinton unveils "American Health Choices Plan" - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Hillary Clinton unveils "American Health Choices Plan"

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Thirteen years after her first effort at improving the nation's health care was abandoned, Hillary Rodham Clinton offered a new approach that would require every American to have health insurance with federal assistance to help defray the cost.

"I believe everyone - every man, woman and child - should have quality, affordable health care in America," the New York senator told an audience in Iowa.

"I intend to be the president that accomplishes that goal finally for our country," she said, vowing to do it in her first term.

Her original plan was an unprecedented initiative for a first lady. This time, she offered a $110 billion a year program as a candidate for the presidency, in the leadoff state that is her toughest battleground. The health care plan came late in her primary campaign, after several rivals had already described their visions.

Clinton said the United States spends more than any other country - $2 trillion - on health care, yet ranks 31st in life expectancy and 40th in child mortality.

"We can no longer tolerate the injustice of a system that shuts out nearly one in six Americans," she said. "Here in America people are dying because they couldn't get the care they needed when they are sick."

Dismissing the inevitable Republican criticism, Clinton admonished the crowd. "I know my Republican opponents will try to equate health care for all Americans with government-run health care. Don't let them fool us again. This is not government-run."

She told the story of a couple that they had to sell their home of 30 years to pay for health care.

"That is the tragedy at the heart of our health care system: the devastation when one stroke of bad luck undoes a lifetime of hard work," she said. "That feeling of being right on the edge that eats away not just at the 47 million who don't have health care, but many of the 250 million who do."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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