Iowa Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton is unveiling a sweeping health care reform proposal today that would require every American to carry health insurance and offer federal subsidies to help reduce the cost of coverage.
With a price tag of about $110 billion per year, Clinton's "American Health Choices Plan" represents her first major effort to achieve universal health coverage since 1994, when the plan she authored during her husband's first term collapsed.
The former first lady says she has learned from that experience, which almost derailed Bill Clinton's presidency and helped put Republicans in control of Congress for years to come. Aides say she has jettisoned the complexity and uncertainty of the last effort in favor of a plan that stresses simplicity, cost control and consumer choice.
The centerpiece of Clinton's plan is the so-called "individual mandate," requiring everyone to have health insurance - just as most states require drivers to purchase auto insurance. Rival John Edwards has also offered a plan that includes an individual mandate, while the proposal outlined by Barack Obama does not.