Edwards Set To Detail His Health Care Reform Proposal
Democratic presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) on Thursday at the Riverside Health Center in Detroit is expected to explain details of the universal health care proposal he released in February, AP/Long Island Newsday reports (Aguilar, AP/Long Island Newsday, 6/14).
Edwards' proposal would require that employers provide health insurance for workers or contribute 6% of their payrolls to a fund that would help individuals purchase coverage.
Edwards said that the proposal would cost $90 billion to $120 billion annually and that he would fund the plan through the elimination of tax cuts proposed by President Bush and approved by Congress for households with annual incomes more than $200,000 (California Healthline, 4/23).
According to a statement released on Wednesday by Edwards, his plan would eliminate long-term patents for breakthrough drugs and offer cash incentives that would allow many companies to produce those drugs, which would bring down prices.
He also is expected to discuss a plan that would require health insurance companies to spend 85% of collected premiums on patient care. Edwards noted that New York, Minnesota, New Jersey and Florida already have similar requirements.
Edwards in the statement said, "Three out of 10 health care dollars go to administrative costs. How much of this is spent on insurers giving families the run-around and figuring out how to deny claims?" He added, "Americans today aren't getting the quality health care they pay for and can't afford the cost of the care they do receive."
Edwards said problems that Detroit's Big Three auto manufacturers -- General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler -- are experiencing in trying to provide health coverage to workers are indicative of problems nationwide. The automakers spend a combined $16 billion annually on health care and expect to pay $114 billion in future retiree benefits.
"Here in Detroit, the cost of health care is particularly crippling for business," Edwards said, adding, "These businesses and their unions made a promise to workers, and now it's time for the government to hold up its end of the bargain and lower health care costs" (AP/Long Island Newsday, 6/14).