Redlener on Neera Tanden, Obama and the Universal Mandate

As Ben reported earlier today and the Obama campaign just officially announced, Neera Tanden, a senior policy adviser to Hillary Clinton, is moving over to the Obama campaign.

One of Clinton’s health care advisers told me he was encouraged by the hire, saying that Tanden, a major architect of Clinton’s health care policy, would have a substantive impact on the Obama plan for achieving universal health care. Throughout primary season, Clinton’s supporters — and some prominent advocates of universal health care — had criticized the Obama plan, which doesn’t include a universal insurance mandate, as insufficiently bold.

“The progressive doctors and other health professionals were extremely attached to the notion of universal coverage,” said Irwin Redlener, a professor at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia university who organized a group of medical professionals for Hillary. “And we are all very reassured by the prospect of Neera being in that campaign.”

Redlener, who said he spoke to Obama last night about organizing a similar group for the Democratic nominee — Obama responded by saying “Let’s make that happen,” according to Redlener — expressed confidence that Tanden would be an advocate for the universal mandate.

“He does not have to have a plan that is a clone of Senator Clinton’s plan,” said Redlener. “But we are hoping that he will have a plan that we can live with.”

Redlener on Neera Tanden, Obama and the Universal Mandate