As Senator Barack Obama continues his three day visit to Iowa, holding a community meeting in Mason City to develop ideas and build support for his health care policy proposals.
"Every four years presidential candidates trot out their plans, then nothing happens," Obama said. "How do we build a movement for change so that when a president is elected there is actually a constituency and a consensus that is built so we can move the agenda through Congress?"
Widely praised as a consensus builder, Obama is eager to assemble a health policy that attracts bipartisan support. The Senator is wisely involving as many stakeholders as possible in the process. While he is not committed to any particular plan or formula, his proposal will likely include universal coverage while stressing prevention as a key to both cost savings and public health.
Obama's approach is forward thinking, and long overdue. Poor eating habits and physical inactivity are some of the most costly, and preventable sources of illness and death in the country. Childhood obesity and diabetes are on the rise. Without a commitment to prevention, future generations will face grave health issues earlier in their life, placing enormous stress on a health care infastructure already bracing itself for aging and ailing baby boomers.
Obama dismissed criticism that universal health care would demand tax increases, stressing that improving efficiency will lead to better health care and lower costs.
"We shouldn't just put more money into a system that isn't efficient," he said.