Obama said he's not wedded to any specific system, but he thinks the plan he'll eventually support will offer universal coverage and will squeeze efficiencies out of the health care system. It also will stress preventive programs, such as weight control.
"The status quo is unsustainable," Obama said. "Standing pat is not an option."
Obama said if he was starting from zero, he would likely support a single-payer system, similar to the government-run program in Canada. But he's leery of taking such a step because the United States already has a complex and established system of employer-based health coverage.
He said that the country is already moving toward a government-based health system.
"The government is already covering half the people," said Obama, noting that Medicare, Medicaid and veterans health systems cover a vast number of Americans.
To build a political consensus for a new system, Obama said he'll hold a series of similar meetings to gauge public sentiment. He plans to offer a health care proposal in a couple months, he said.
Some interesting statements. I'm not sure what to make of them. Saying he would support single-payer if starting from scratch might be his way of paying lip service to the extreme left view. The reference to "squeezing efficiencies" is a good sign that he will not go too far in expanding the government's role. It's still not really clear where he's going with this, though.