PITTSBURGH - Democrats shaped a set of principles Saturday that commits the party to guaranteed health care for all, heading off a potentially divisive debate and edging the party closer to the position of Barack Obama's defeated rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The party's platform committee moved smoothly through a range of issues for the fall campaign and approved a document that will go to the Democratic convention in Denver later this month for adoption.
There was little dissent - or room for it - in the day's meeting and a compromise on health policy took one flash-point off the table.
Obama, soon to be the Democratic nominee, has stopped short of proposing to mandate health coverage for all. He aims to achieve something close to universal coverage by making insurance more affordable and helping struggling families pay for it.
Advisers to Obama and Clinton both told the party's platform meeting they were happy with the compromise, adopted without opposition or without explanation as to how health care would be guaranteed.
In return for the guarantee, activists dropped a tougher platform amendment seeking a government-run, single-payer system and another amendment explicitly holding out Clinton's plan as the one to follow.
The party now declares itself "united behind a commitment that every American man, woman and child be guaranteed to have affordable, comprehensive health care."
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