IMAGE: Chris Dodd
Alice Keeney  /  AP file
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut has rolled out his new health care plan that models benefits after those given to government employees.
updated 7/26/2007 5:24:51 PM ET 2007-07-26T21:24:51

Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd proposed a universal health coverage plan Thursday with benefits matching those given to federal workers.

The plan — released by Dodd as he starts a three-day campaign swing through Iowa — would be phased in over four years and would create an insurance package offered to businesses and individuals with premiums based on their ability to pay. The proposal calls for a Universal HealthMart, parallel to the health coverage given federal workers. The system would offer a variety of plans tailored to individual needs.

In background documents spelling out his plan, the Connecticut senator said it would not require higher taxes but would be financed primarily by eliminating inefficiencies in the current system. Both employers and individuals would contribute to premiums, with the amount tied to the ability to pay.

"Other revenue streams such as those that would result from ending the war in Iraq will be identified for transition costs," according to the documents describing the package.

Dodd released the plan as part of an effort to focus his campaign on pocketbook issues, aides said.

Dodd said that under his plan, coverage would be portable, moving with an individual from job to job. It would also include incentives for wellness programs, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, that could further reduce premiums.

There was no overall price tag included in the background documents.

The efficiencies cited in the plan would largely come by using new technologies, such as converting to electronic medical records.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Dodd: Presidential race is far from over

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