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Elizabeth Edwards talks health care reform in Carrboro

Posted October 1, 2008
Updated October 10, 2008

— The wife of two-time Democratic presidential candidate and former North Carolina U.S. Sen. John Edwards was in Carrboro Wednesday for a roundtable discussion on health care.

Elizabeth Edwards returned to the public stage this month, and she plans to campaign against the health care policies of Republican presidential nominee John McCain until the election.

Edwards supports mandatory universal health coverage while McCain supports free-market policies and a tax break to help drive down the cost of care.

McCain would also give tax credits to individuals and families to offset insurance costs so they can choose the best coverage for their specific needs. He says it would also encourage more businesses to drop health care benefits.

But Edwards said Wednesday that McCain's plan would take away health benefits for more than 600,000 people in North Carolina and that middle-class families would face a tax increase.

Edwards was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 but was declared cancer-free after treatment. Eighteen months ago, she announced the cancer had returned and had spread to her bones, making it no longer curable.

"I'm not alone in this," said Edwards, who learned last year she had an incurable form of cancer that has spread to her bones. "I'm not the only person who is going to go out into that individual market with a chronic condition and try to buy health insurance."

WRAL News spoke to staff at McCain's headquarters in North Carolina several times Wednesday to try to get a response to Edwards' criticism of the senator's health care plan.

They referred to a copy of the plan on McCain's campaign Web site.

Edwards would not talk about Sen. Barack Obama's plan, which would require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions and would give tax credits to small businesses to help encourage affordable health care.

"I'm talking about one particular proposal," she said. "And perhaps, at some other event, I'll be happy to talk about another proposal."

As for her own health, Edwards said her health is "no worse" than it was when she and her husband announced her cancer in March 2007.

"I feel fine," she said. "I'm 59 and have young children, so I'm a little tired."

Edwards has made health care her life's work since the cancer diagnosis, and her personal memoir takes readers into the intimate moments of her battle with the disease.

She aided her husband in putting together his health care proposal and has criticized both presidential nominees for their policies, although McCain has been her target to a far greater degree.

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  • x Oct 1, 2008

    this woman has no credibility with me. Who care what she says unless she is dumping her hubby.

  • meh2 Oct 1, 2008

    What a crock. Her husband worked his whole life to ruin health care. Her opinion is not valid.

  • Schpartacus Oct 1, 2008

    It's really not insurance if it's covering pre-existing conditions.

  • colliedave Oct 1, 2008

    Perhaps she can sell her mansion to help offset the health costs of Chapel Hills' poor.

  • littlegramma Oct 1, 2008

    Please tell me, what makes her an expert? And who really cares what she thinks? No one I know, that's for sure! Her husband made his fortune chasing ambulances (and being a consumate liar even then) so she has no real worries for her health care. I do not want rationed, then bankrupt socialized medicine as in Britain/Canada. Whenever the government gets involved in anything, it makes the situation 100 times worse. Electing anyone who pushes gov. control of anything, would be agreeing that we want a socialist country, destroying our constitution and our freedoms. Her husband is one of the worst candidates I've seen in my lifetime!

  • Brogden Oct 1, 2008

    What is "worse" than "incurable"?
    How do you get "worse" than "incruable"?
    I feel very sorry for her personally but think she is still trying to keep the "Edwards" brand alive while the campaign is going on and he has been told by the Dems to stay out of sight!

    Come on WRAL - publish who is paying and how much for her to come to these events. AND - who is keeping the kids while she is gone - Johnny?

  • Oct 1, 2008

    Isn't "Edwards supports mandatory universal health coverage" similiar to Medicare or Medicaid? some one enlighten me...my sister had Medicare/Medicaid and didn't get the best treatment for her cancer and it spread to her bones and she was gone within 9 months....If she could have received better care I do believe she would have lived....even I could not pay for the medicines that were prescribed for her but they would not cover cost so she could not get them... or she would lose all her medical care...isn't that "Edwards supports mandatory universal health coverage" that they want...someone put an explaination out here we can understand....

  • onyourheels2 Oct 1, 2008

    i talked to bob harris this morning and he wanted me to let everyone know his cold is much better.