Elizabeth Edwards is Right (with Olberman video and more)

[Editors note - Originally posted Thu, 04/10/2008 - 16:30. Bumping and promoting the important news that Elizabeth Edwards is rejoining the national discussion on the very important issue of health care. (standingup) and (carol white)]

Reposted in full with permission from the author, TomP

We need universal health care in this nation. Nyceve has written about it extensively. (Read the NYCEVE diaries here). Many kossaks, like myself, have long supported single payer. Last year, John Edwards came out with a universal health care plan that was a road to single payer.

Elizabeth Edwards spoke about universal health care on Olberman last night.

Elizabeth Edwards is right.

On Olberman last night:

I keep getting asked the difference between these two candidates and their policies and on health care, I prefer Senator Clinton‘s to Senator Obama‘s.

The difference—more important to me is the difference between Senator McCain‘s proposed plan, I said plan, with the ideas of either of the Democratic candidates, and you‘re talking about narrower differences between the Democrats and then this gulf that I was describing earlier, a solar system of difference between what Senator McCain is suggesting for health care and what these candidates are suggesting.

More, below, including video on Elizabeth on Olberman and ABC, among other places.

But very essential ingredient is whether or, in my view, it‘s whether or not it is a universal plan, whether it covers everybody. In order to cover everybody, it means everybody has to buy health insurance.

Senator Clinton has suggested that she would help people buy health insurance. In fact, Senator Obama has suggested he would help people buy health insurance if they couldn‘t afford it. But he‘s not going to require people to buy it. In my view, that means that we don‘t get the advantage of some cost savings, you know, you‘re still—hospitals are still, because they need to stay in the black, they‘re still going to need to charge people $25 for an aspirin or $50 for a bottle of water. Those kinds of things have happened.

As long as there are uninsured people, they‘re going to need to cost it (ph), they will not be able to get the costs down for everybody. There are other reasons that are complicated I think, but related to the market and the health care pools that I think make it really important that we have this mandate, but I‘m convinced that a health care policy without the mandate is only half a policy.

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, April 9

John Edwards came out with his Universal Health Care Plan in early February, 2007, and made universal health care an issue:

"More than any of the presidential candidates, John Edwards has come up with a specific and plausible plan that provides for health care coverage for all Americans."
Nicholas Kristof
The New York Times

"John Edwards came out with the most comprehensive plan for healthcare."
-- Andy Stern, President, Service Employees International Union

"John Edwards has made a serious and thoughtful proposal to address the growing health care crisis. His innovative plan offers practical steps to lower the high cost of health care, improve the quality of care and provide coverage for all Americans."
-- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy

More Details Here about the Edwards Plan
For months afterward, neither Obama nor Clinton had a plan. It was clear that universal health care would not have been an issue, but for Edwards pushing it.
Then Obama came out with a plan. It was mediocre, descrbed by Ezra Klein, as showing "A Lack of Audacity

Number one, he didn't make sure everybody is in. There is perhaps no more surprising fact about Obama's plan than that it is not universal. It is certainly sold as if it is. In his speech unveiling the proposal, Obama bragged that, "[m]y plan begins by covering every American." But it doesn't. To say otherwise is rhetorical overreach, the appropriation of a popular and broadly-supported goal without an attendant mechanism for achieving it.

"Ezra Klein, A Lack of Audacity

"Sen. Obama has a very creative plan it just doesn't cover everyone."

ABC, quoting John Edwards

"Barack Obama's plan leaves out 15 million people. The truth is that some people will choose not to buy insurance even though it's affordable, knowing that the rest of us will pay for their emergency room visits."


A few months later, Clinton finally came out with a plan. It essentially copied the Edwards plan in its main provisions.

Since I think the Edwards plan is a good plan and can lead to single payer, and since the Clinton plan essentially copies the Edwards plan, I prefer the Clinton plan to the Obama plan. If Obama is elected, I hope he implements the Clinton (Edwards) plan. If Clinton is elected, I hope she implements the Clinton (Edwards) plan. I want universal health care. ASAP. This nation needs it.
Elizabeth Edwards recently has criticized the McCain "health care plan."

Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of former Democratic presidential contender John Edwards, said she and John McCain have one thing in common: "Neither one of us would be covered by his health policy."
Elizabeth Edwards told some 500 health journalists the other day that John McCain’s health care plan was like "painting lipstick on a pig," an expression from her neck of the woods that in this case means lofty-sounding words that pretty up some ideas that could hurt ordinary people who don’t understand what’s going on; that is, unless journalists tell them. The language of his plan sounds good, she argued, making it "hard to understand what’s wrong with it. "Someone has to translate for the public." Edwards challenged reporters to do just that.
Elizabeth showed that John McCain could be denied coverage under John McCain’s healthcare plan.

Under the McCain proposal, health insurers "wouldn't have to cover pre-existing conditions like melanoma and breast cancer," Elizabeth Edwards said at the annual meeting of the Association of Health Care Journalists in Arlington, Va.

Links to Quotes in Elizabeth Edwards Takes on McCain Again

Elzabeth Edwards also favors the Clinton Plan over the Obama plan. Why? Because the Clinton/Edwards plan it is universal and the Obama plan is not:

"Sen. Clinton's plan is a great plan" that closely resembles John Edwards' proposal, she said. Clinton's plan mandates that every American be insured. Elizabeth Edwards said only universal healthcare would resolve one of the problems plaguing the healthcare system -- its soaring cost.
"Until we get rid of the need for hospitals and other providers to cover the costs of people who are not covered . . . the overall cost is not going to go down," she said. "The only real cost savings comes when you have universality."

LA Times

In order to ensure that we have universal coverage, we need to say everybody has to join,” Edwards told ABC’s Robin Roberts. “So, for that reason, the mandates that Sen. Clinton is talking about, I think are going to be more successful in achieving the goal,” she added.
Both health care plans have the same goals, said Edwards, but “I just have more confidence in Sen. Clinton’s policies than Sen. Obama’s on this particular issue.”

John and Elizabeth Edwards are right about universal health care and about mandates.

John Edwards:

"We need true universal health care reform that covers every single man, woman, and child in America. It is wrong to leave anyone without the care they need. A universal system will work better for all of us – delivering better care at lower cost."

Edwards Statement On Health Care Mandate

John and Elizabeth Edwards ask, "Who will you leave out?"

Now, finally, for those few, but noisy, folks who may accuse me of supporting Clinton or attacking Obama, I have this to say. I have not endorsed either Clinton or Obama. Nor has John Edwards or Elizabeth Edwards endorsed either of them. Elizabeth rightly prefers Clinton's plan on the health care issue. That is one of many isssues. It is very important, but it is not the only issue. I believe it is quite acceptable to criticize Obama's, but contribute to his campaign, vote for him and support him.

Not all policy positions Barack Obama has taken are correct in my view. Not all become gospel becuase he adopts them. He can be wrong and is wrong on this, as well as other, issues. So is Senator Clinton wrong on some issues. So was John Edwards. Elizabeth disagrees with John Edwards on gay marriage. A democratic society is based on the priciple that no one person has a monopoly on truth.
Those who seek to impose an Obaman orthodoxy on progressives will only push away the very support they need if he is nominated. It's wrong and it is self defeating. And I believe Barack Obama, verbally at least, would oppose it. Free thought requires the clashing of views.

If Obama is elected President, I will support him where he is right, but oppose him where I believe he is wrong. If he leaves a large force of residual troops in Iraq after 2010, I will oppose him and demonstrate in the streets. If he ends the occupation of Iraq, I will praise him to the heavens.
On universal health care, I'll support variants of the Edwards Plan or the Conyers plan. We need universal health care. Obama's plan is better than McvCain by far, but we need more. Obama, himself, apparently once supported single payer. Maybe he will again. On can hope.

Many progressives support Obama, but they retain their beliefs:

However, the fact that Barack Obama openly defines himself as a centrist invites the formation of this progressive force within his coalition. Anything less could allow his eventual drift towards the right as the general election approaches.

We should not only keep the pressure on, but we also should connect the issues that Barack Obama has made central to his campaign into an overarching progressive vision.

Progressives for Obama Seek to Pull Obama Leftward
If support for Obama requires me to betray my most fundamental beliefs, then I cannot go there. If, however, there is room in the Obama coalition for progressive populists, and dissent on issues is acceptable, then he could lead a true movement for change.

I will leave with Elizabeth's words:

"You need that universality in order to get the cost savings. ... I just have more confidence in Sen. Clinton's policy than Sen. Obama's on this particular issue," she said.


EDWARDS: No, I was answering a direct question, and I don‘t have much political capital to spend, Keith, and I want to spend it on the ideas I care about, and so, if I support one candidate‘s ideas over another, then I‘ll express that. The important—I keep getting asked the difference between these two candidates and their policies and on health care, I prefer Senator Clinton‘s to Senator Obama‘s.

The difference—more important to me is the difference between Senator McCain‘s proposed plan, I said plan, with the ideas of either of the Democratic candidates, and you‘re talking about narrower differences between the Democrats and then this gulf that I was describing earlier, a solar system of difference between what Senator McCain is suggesting for health care and what these candidates are suggesting.

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, April 9

Health care, she added, “is a pretty important issue, and I don’t want to put down the sword until we get the job done.”

New York Times

Thank you, Elizabeth Edwards, for not putting down that sword and for continuing to tell the truth to the powerful and the popular.

No votes yet


is an incredible lady.

Thanks for this post.

ePMedia ... get the scoop with us!
If it's true that our species is alone in the universe, then I'd have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little. ~ George Carlin

We will be hearing more from her too. According to an article I read, not only will she blogging as part of her new position as a fellow with the Center for American Progress, she's also going to set up her own blog.

it's been a 'starter' for me on how to approach thinking about the potential health care plans.

It seems a bit ironic that it was not Hillary who pushed the issue into this campaign.

I've done a lot of digging into the tobacco documents on investigations I originally thought were unrelated to Hillary's plan. I've been surprised at what I've learned since, actually, the particular area of my interest is the propanganda and deception industry that developed in advocating Big Tobacco's causes and became Hillary's VRWC which was partly why the industry bought the GOP.

The deception industry has everything to do with the health plan Hillary was trying to make happen back in 1993-94, and is the reason it failed, in fact.

Anyhow, it's surprising to learn that the current discussion of health care grew out of the Edwards' initiatives rather than Hillary's.

Truly, thanks for the insights.

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

He did a great job putting this post together.

Excellent comment,btw.

Thanks for stopping in.

Many people are overconfident that they will not need health care. Some of these people are desperately trying to pay off burdensome college loans and save for a mortgage. One way or another, these people need to be covered. This society cannot afford to ignore the thousands of unncessary deaths that occur because of lack of health insurance coverage.

When I drive down the freeway for any length of time, I occasionally spot people who ride motorcycles who do not wear helmets. Similarly, there are many folks who think they do not need health care insurance protection. But then you also read stories of how many people go bankrupt because they get medical bills they did not expect and cannot afford to pay because they have no health insurance.