Edwards Calls for Universal Health Coverage by 2009
Democratic presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) on Tuesday during an appearance at the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley in Milford, N.H., said that as president he would seek to end health insurance for lawmakers in the event that they do not approve legislation to expand coverage to all U.S. residents by July 2009, the Nashua Telegraph reports.
According to Edwards, the election of a Democratic presidential candidate will not ensure the expansion of health insurance to all residents.
"Democrats controlled every branch of government in 1993, and it still didn't grant universal health care," he said, adding, "There are some very good Democratic candidates, but there are significant differences." Edwards also said that his experience as a trial lawyer would help in efforts to expand health insurance to all residents. "I believe we need a fighter as our Democratic candidate," he said (Nashua Telegraph, 11/14).
Edwards on Tuesday during an appearance at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., said that as president he would consider the elimination of patent protection for "breakthrough" prescription drugs to help reduce costs and increase access to the medications, Reuters reports. Edwards said, "We'd offer a cash prize for the research and development of these drugs, but they don't get a patent. So we eliminate the monopoly."
In addition, he said, "It would also create a different dynamic for drug companies and particularly for breakthrough drugs in big areas like Alzheimer's, cancer, etc.," adding, "The idea is you've got to give the financial incentive for the companies to do it, but on the flip side, you get the products to the market quicker, available quickly and at a much lower cost" (Malone, Reuters, 11/13).