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FYI: The Congressionally chartered Institute of Medicine said in a high-profile report yesterday that the nation must reach universal health care coverage by 2010, but did not recommend a specific path to get there. The recommendation marks the first time since the early Clinton years that a high-level player in Washington health policy has made a case for universal coverage. The IOM did not provide details on what path would best lead to its proposed goal, but said its take-home message is that the incremental health care reform that policy makers have focused on in the last decade is not working. The report noted that 55.7 percent of the 43 million uninsured are in families with a fulltime worker, and that these and other stats have economic ripples throughout the nation’s economy. Healthcare watchdogs ranging from the conservative Hudson Institute to the progressive Families USA called the report a significant step, but the White House and congressional GOP leadership criticized it as too vague and pointed to the incremental achievements already made in expanding health coverage.

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