Speaking Thursday at a fundraiser sponsored by the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Powell said he doesn't see why the United States "can't do what Europe is doing, what Canada is doing, what Korea is doing, what all these other places are doing."
Puget Sound Business Journal reported Powell, a prostate cancer survivor, made the remarks at the Prostate Cancer Survivors Celebration Breakfast fundraiser.
"We are a wealthy enough country with the capacity to make sure that every one of our fellow citizens has access to quality health care," he said. "(Let's show) the rest of the world what our democratic system is all about and how we take care of all of our citizens."
Powell, a Republican who was a career Army officer before serving in the administration of President George W. Bush, said he and his wife, Alma, have benefited from the government healthcare they have received.
"I am not an expert in healthcare, or Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, or however you choose to describe it," he said, "but I do know this -- I have benefited from that kind of universal healthcare in my 55 years of public life."