John Edwards photo

Edwards Campaign Press Release - Edwards Details Cost-Savings Measures In Universal Health Care Plan

June 14, 2007

Detroit, Michigan – Following a tour of East Riverside Health Center today, Senator John Edwards detailed the cost-saving measures in the universal health care plan he laid out in February. Edwards' plan to guarantee quality, affordable health care to every person in America plan would save an average family $2,000 to $2,500 a year and eliminate at least $130 billion a year in wasteful health care spending.

"Americans today aren't getting the quality of health care they pay for and can't afford the cost of the care they do receive," said Edwards. "The American health care system today is broken—for families and businesses like those here in Detroit. 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. To fix our health care crisis, we need a fundamental change —the plan I laid out in February will cover every man, woman and child in America and bring down costs for families and businesses."

In February, Edwards announced his plan for universal health care, which would ensure that families without insurance will get coverage at an affordable price, families with insurance will pay less and get more security and choice, and it will be cheaper and easier for businesses and employers to insure their workers.

Edwards' health care plan will make health care more affordable for families and cut costs in the health care system by creating an affordable and accountable health care system.

Edwards' plan will bring down costs by:

  • Reforming the insurance industry by setting national accounting standards requiring insurers to spend at least 85 percent of their premiums on patient care. Without new rules, insurance companies could continue to charge hardworking families excessive premiums, pocketing the savings from health care reform instead of delivering more to patients. Edwards' Health Care Markets will also drive down costs by making private insurers compete with a public plan.
  • Cutting the cost of and improving treatment for chronic conditions. Chronic diseases are the top driver of skyrocketing health costs, accounting for three-quarters of our national health care spending. Edwards will create patient-centered "medical homes," and require Health Care Markets and public plans to pro-actively monitor the health of patients with chronic ailments, to reduce complications and hospitalizations. He will offer private plans incentives to do the same. Edwards will also require all insurers to cover preventive care, with public plans offering preventive care without co-payments, and he will provide incentives for patients to participate.
  • Improving the Patent System and the FDA: The patent system sometimes encourages greater investment in profitable but minor innovation ("me-too drugs") than in the costly and speculative research that generates true breakthroughs. In 2005, only 20 percent of FDA approved drugs were new molecular entities. In addition, the patent system gives companies long-term monopolies that can make life-saving drugs prohibitively costly for patients. Edwards will convene an expert panel to explore whether there are certain key disorders where prizes for breakthroughs – as an alternative to patent monopolies—would offer new incentives to researchers, guaranteed gains to companies, and lower costs to patients. Prizes would supplement, but not replace, the current patent system. Additionally, Edwards will eliminate loopholes and trade obstacles that block generic drugs and let the FDA approve biogenerics, saving up to $43 billion over 10 years. [Woolley, 2006; Stiglitz, 2005; CAGW, 2007]
  • Supporting our health care infrastructure by improving work conditions to bring back 50,000 nurses who have left the profession and recruiting 50,000 young people into nursing. Edwards will also invest in telemedicine for rural areas.

For more information on Edwards' plan, please download the accompanying fact sheet by clicking here. [PDF]

John Edwards, Edwards Campaign Press Release - Edwards Details Cost-Savings Measures In Universal Health Care Plan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives