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Hillary Clinton talks health care policy in Iowa

Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that she wants to build on "what works" in President Obama's health care law.

Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that she wants to build on "what works" in the president's health care law, suggesting that she may be open to allowing health insurance to be sold across state lines and saying that she would fight for lower prescription drug prices.

Appearing at a roundtable at Capital City Fruit near Des Moines, Iowa, Clinton heard from a small group of small business owners who discussed their biggest challenges -- including health care costs -- as they work to maintain their companies.

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She expressed support for President Obama's signature health care law -- saying "I am committed to building on what works in the Affordable Care Act" -- but also acknowledged concerns that attendees had about providing health care for their employees and themselves.

Asked about the idea of insurance companies competing across state lines, Clinton said, "I think it's something we should look at."

"If we're going to have a free market system, we need a free market where we've got people competing on cost and quality, and that may be one thing we need to look at," she said.

Clinton added that she hasn't made a final decision herself on what kind of changes to the health care system she would support.

Clinton also expressed concern about the high cost of prescription drugs, especially for those with rare medical conditions.

"We need to drive a harder bargain negotiating with drug companies about the costs of drugs," she said, noting the "height of ironies" that medications developed in the United States are often sold more cheaply overseas.

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And she voiced support for policies formalizing paid maternity and paternity leave.

"We are the last developed country in the world that has no paid leave for parents or for illness," she said.

The event concluded the public appearances of Clinton's two days of campaigning in Iowa. Earlier Wednesday, Clinton stopped at the Tremont Grille in Marshalltown for a private discussion with local activists and backers. On Tuesday, she held a similar roundtable at Kirkwood Community College in Monticello, Iowa.

Both of Clinton's public events in the state were small, low-key discussions designed to focus on the concerns of Iowans. Aides have emphasized that, in the early stages of the campaign, Clinton wants to avoid the crowds of reporters and supporters that hampered her ability during her 2008 campaign to make one-on-one connections with voters in the state.