Obama Should Address Health Care Overhaul Immediately After Stimulus

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Universal health care should be one of President-elect Barack Obama's first priorities upon entering office, immediately after a "massive investment" in an economic stimulus package, Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, said in an interview published in the Wall Street Journal's weekend edition.

According to the Journal, universal health care is "an issue on which the SEIU boss helped push the Democratic consensus leftward." Stern said, "When you have universal health care, employers compete without health care being a competitive factor."

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According to Stern, "it's hard to find an outspoken voice against comprehensive reform" today, compared with the 1993 effort to enact health care reform. He said Obama will take office at "an unusual Washington moment" when businesses, labor and lawmakers "see common ground" on Obama's priorities, particularly health care.

According to the Journal, Stern approves of the appointment of Tom Daschle as HHS secretary and believes Sen. Max Baucus' (D-Mont.) reform plan is "a big step in the right direction" (Kaminski, Wall Street Journal, 12/6).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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