April 9th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
7 years ago

Elizabeth Edwards backs Clinton's health care plan over Obama's

John and Elizabeth Edwards are joined by their children in New Orleans as Edwards announced the end of his presidential campaign in January.

John and Elizabeth Edwards are joined by their children in New Orleans as Edwards announced the end of his presidential campaign in January.

(CNN) – Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, is picking sides in the Democratic nomination race – at least with respect to health care. In an interview that aired Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” she threw her support behind Sen. Hillary Clinton’s health care plan.

“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.”

Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama remain in a pitched battle for the Democration nomination and the difference in their respective health care plans on the issue of individual coverage mandates – Clinton’s plan requires them across-the-board while Obama’s plan only mandates coverage for children – is one of only a few policy distinctions between them, a difference Clinton has stressed in debates and on the stump.

Elizabeth Edwards, a cancer survivor, has made positive comments about Clinton’s health care plan before, even noting last September that it resembles her husband’s own proposal. She has also criticized Sen. John McCain’s proposal for permitting insurance companies to deny coverage for preexisting conditions. John Edwards, who ended his presidential bid in late January, had made the issue a central one in his campaign.

Despite being lobbied by both Clinton and Obama, John Edwards has yet to make an endorsement. “We think that what we have to offer is not so much an endorsement as a perspective on what we’ve found as we’ve crossed the country on what people think are important issues and the solutions that seemed most realistic,” said Elizabeth Edwards Wednesday.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Chris Dodd both endorsed Obama after ending their presidential campaigns while Sen. Joe Biden, like Edwards, still has not endorsed one of the two remaining Democratic presidential hopefuls.

–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart

soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Angus McDugan

    We cannot afford to provide free helth care to criminals. That is huge! Who is going to pay for that. Here comes big goverment at its best.

    April 9, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. Jeff

    Indeed. If we are really aiming for health care improvements, then we need to include everyone, not just the children.

    too bad this will get buried by CNN...

    April 9, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  3. Brown

    One should ask- Why will this plan now work when it did not work while Bill was in office?

    April 9, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    Yeah, that's right. Elizabeth is seeing the light. We dont need Penn, Pennsylvania or Obama-bots. We already won California and New York and NOW we won over Elizabeth, you maggots. This campaign is HUGE.

    Hillary and Nader. 2008

    April 9, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  5. Mike in Houston

    Another irrelevent endorsement for Hillarycare.

    April 9, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    America can go screw itself now. We have Elizabeth on board. We are rolling...

    Hillary and Nader, baby! 2008

    April 9, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  7. teresa from Canada

    Common John – give us the rest – we are waiting for your endorsement. I would love to see a Clinton/Edwards ticket – best combo. Do it before North Carolina.
    I feel it in the air.
    Clinton takes Penn. BIG
    Clinton gets endorsement from Edwards
    and suddenly the big mouth flunkies who told her to drop out are silenced.
    Go Hillary – you are the BEST!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 9, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  8. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    Screw off Mark Penn, you've been replaced with Elizabeth. So, there.

    Hillary and Nader 2008

    April 9, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. vic nashville,Tn

    I appreciate Elizabeth Edwards comment

    April 9, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  10. Give me a Break

    Liz, your husband is a MULTI-TIME LOSER who can't even wrap up his own state. No one cares what you think. Now get lost.

    April 9, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  11. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    Mark Penn and Solis-Doyle are losers. We... are winners.

    Elizabeth, you go girl!

    Hillary and Nader for America.

    April 9, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  12. Danny in Pittsburgh

    And why not? Both Edwards and Clinton received FAR MORE campaign money from the Health Insurance Industry than Obama.

    (why no one ever mentions the payments Hillary took before her Senate bid in New York is beyond me–but it was SIX FIGURES, folks!).

    The Edwards/Clinton plan GUARANTEES more money over time for the insurance industry, and creates MANDATES for every American to carry insurance, based on some 10% of income formula that may INCREASE premiums for some people, while forcing those of us who can't afford it to buy it anyway in hopes of something called "a tax credit".

    If you can't PAY for it during the year...a TAX CREDIT is useless.

    And if you can't pay for it during the year...you will be FINED by the government or have your wages garnished.

    I'm sorry Elizabeth is so misinformed...but what do you expect? She's got the best healthcare available to a citizen in this country as a wealthy individual. Just like the Clinton's do, as wealthy individuals.

    READ the fine print, people!

    April 9, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  13. Dee JAY in miami

    SOOOOOOOOOOOO You cant make People Join

    Obama 08

    April 9, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. KiloWhiskey - Denver

    Oh and she has a clue? Being a survivor or cancer is a great thing, but doesn't necessarily make you qualified to propose national policy.

    I wish I was rich enough to be a liberal like her.

    April 9, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  15. Terry from VA


    Does she back her Bosnia Stance? Her dying woman stance? Her Mark Penn stance? Her not paying bills on time stance? Her not paying her employees stance? Her not paying the health care premiums for her campaign stance? Her NAFTA stance? Her CAFTA stance? Her mismanagement of her campaign stance? Her inevitability stance?

    I hope not!!!

    April 9, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Chris from VA

    This just in:

    Dennis Kucinich's wife prefers Hillary Clinton's foreign policy plans.

    April 9, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    It does NOT matter whether or not Hillary is un-electable. As long as she keeps hanging in there, we may have a chance at a decent and respectable 2nd place. With Elizabeth now a part of our campaign, we now have hope.

    H. Clinton and R. Nader for America.

    April 9, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. hkitty

    Seems like an endorsement to me!! Thanks Elizabeth. You are right and Hillary and John are closer on the issues than most people would think!! Go Hillary and come on John, join in!!

    April 9, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. jcgallo

    You should correct the caption of the Edwards story by correctly spelling New Orleans.

    April 9, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  20. Phong Nguyen

    S. Clinton's plan is more inclusive than S. Obama's because it will require everybody to pitch in to share the costs. S. Obama's plan requires parents to buy insurance for their children but let the adults to decide for themselves whether they want to buy it or not.

    April 9, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Joseph

    Mandating coverage for people who can't afford the premiums, and then fining them when they don't pay the bill? Now they are out the money for the fine and they still don't have healthcare. Sounds like a great idea. Where do I sign up?


    April 9, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    I always said America would be sorry. Now, it has come to light: Elizabeth Edwards is officialy part of our campaign for change. But it's not too late if more people want to join her. Message to Elizabeth: Thanks for joining us on the campaign trail. Maybe your husband can donate his checkbook. Just think about it. Please.

    Hillary and Nader.

    April 9, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  23. Robert

    Ms. Edwards has no say in this, because her husband made millions off our current healthcare policies his past career.

    April 9, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. Belle

    Unfortunately, Obama's Health Care Plan leaves the door wide open for failure. 14-16 MILLION Americans will not be covered under his plan.

    While he mandates health care for children, who is going to care for the children when parents die because they decided they could not afford health care, and opted not to get it?

    Car insurance is a mandate. The big difference? Clinton has rebates, and other ways to make the coverage more affordable for Americans.
    She wants to negotiate with the Drug Companies....health insurance is more affordable in the workplace, but I believe if all the Insurance Companies were competing for the Universal Plan...that is the SAME insurance our tax dollars fund for the House and Senate, it will be MORE affordable for everyone. Don't we deserve the same type of coverage? Isn't it time for HMO's and Insurance Companies to quit deciding who lives or dies?

    April 9, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. wilma

    “I just have more confidence in Sen. Clinton’s policies than Sen. Obama’s on this particular issue.”

    So do I! Thank you Elizabeth Edwards.

    April 9, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
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