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. GG, Dallas, TX

    Now, that is a smart woman! Go Hillary!

    April 9, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. Robin

    With all respects, Mrs. Edwards does not know what a Universal healthcare really means...it means a more expensive less effective system. If you are forced to buy something from me, why should I make it cheaper or better?

    April 9, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. Scott

    Elizabeth Edwards,
    You are entitled to your opinion. But you're not stupid. You know comments such as these will be widely interpreted as an Edwards endorsement of Clinton. That you and your husband could do such a thing after he and you built an entire campaign criticizing the corrupt system that had funded Clinton's campaign is the HEIGHT of hypocrisy and is utterly disgusting.

    April 9, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. Sean

    Be wary any time the government tells you that you HAVE to have something. Shouldn't we have the freedom of choice, and not forced into something? And please, people... Let's not compare auto insurance and health insurance.

    April 9, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. gary


    April 9, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. Jenny, TX

    Wish you're always well ! Thank you for your comment.

    April 9, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  7. Celia Ann in Michigan

    I am concerned that if people cannot afford the premiums, under Clinton's plan they will be fined and if they do not pay the fine, they will have wages garnished in order to collect then fine. THEN They will really not be able to afford health insurance.

    April 9, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. PA for Obama, because Clinton not truthful

    The Edwards comments are not true......

    April 9, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. Jen B.

    It is unlikely that Clinton will bring about the reforms she is "promising". As the # 2 recipient of hefty funding from the health care industries, her hands are tied, she will protect their interests first and foremost.

    April 9, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. Dan , TX

    You mean, she backs John Edwards plan, that Clinton adopted.

    It is far more likely for Obama's plan to win bipartisan support than Clinton's.

    April 9, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Sarah

    You see Clintons plan mandates that everyone be apart of it. Obama, lets adults over 25 choose to keep their plan or join the national plan. It gives you a choice.

    April 9, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Derrick

    Smart Woman! Everyone knows that Hillary has a better plan than Obama for EVERYTHING!

    The only experience Obama has is being a state senator people... I mean, give me a break. He has less experience than Bush did when taking office and we all see what we got!


    They are the same... NO EXPERIENCE! Wake up people!

    April 9, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  13. Gail

    All you Obama people just can't leave it alone. No matter who likes something Hillary says or backs her ideas, you just can't take it. I am very worried about a lot of you if he doesn't get nominated are you going to be hateful for the rest of your life? He doesn't have the experience to be president.

    April 9, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. Mirta

    Interesting...I think it is also interesting that Edwards has not jumped on the Obama train. Maybe he sees it for what it is...a disaster waiting to happen. he still needs to answer for Wright, Rezko...and I sure there is more dirt to come. I agree with Hillary "He can't win". The Repubs are going to smear him if he gets the nomination. Besides, I can't stand his arrogant wife (she is so well educated and still can't speak proper English!!! – just listen to her)

    Hillary '08

    April 9, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. Sina

    Smart woman, Smart choice

    HRC 08

    April 9, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. Lostfigs

    Smart man! I love this guy and he should've been our President!Finally, we're back on the issue that matter!

    Go Hillary!

    April 9, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. TAHARI in CT 4 OBAMA

    Clinton makes everyone get the insurance but how much will it be?!

    I need an insurance plan that wont break me! Or else I'll just pay the fine.

    Obama's approach makes it cheaper first so you now are able to get it. No fines. Just affordability!

    Makes sense to me!

    April 9, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    Thank you Elizabeth!!! It's about time someone set the record straight on Obama's plan. Hillary's plan is much better.

    How sad that voters bougth into the empty promises of a neophyte and are about to throw under the bus the most capable remaining candidate in the Democratic race.

    I think that some day we will live to regret it........

    April 9, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. Wise Dem.

    Once and for all, I hope people really get the difference between Hilary and Obama's plan. it is philisophical than substantive. In terms of the substance they are identical with the goal of universal coverage.

    Hilary believes in mandates while Obama believe in cost reduction. Now to debate on which method will be most effective in achieving universal health insurance is worthwhile, but to say Obama's will live out many Americans is not true.

    By the way mandates have already proven not to be effective. It did not work in Masachusset.

    Do some fact check folks and educate yourself.......

    April 9, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. LifeLongDemocrat

    Now, endorse her John!

    April 9, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. Sean

    Here we go. Clinton – Edwards ticket.

    No Obama – No vote

    April 9, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. Dan

    Clinton's plan covers everyone. Its based on a small percentage of your income. So the max you pay is capped based on your income.

    Obama dropped the ball on this. We need everyone covered, or it won't be the same.

    We need to do this 100% or not do it at all.

    Obama needs to wake up, or he could ruin this for decades....

    April 9, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. California girl

    Thank you, Mrs. Edwards for backing Hillary's healthcare plan that covers everyone, not just children as Obama's healthcare plan does.

    Hillary the smart choice!

    April 9, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. Mir

    PA for Obama, which part of the quoted transcript from ABC is not true? Maybe you're projecting...

    April 9, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  25. Linda

    Who is Elizabeth Edwards? She is the wife of a second rate senator from North Carolina or South Carolina? How only survived one term as a senator and was second choice to be the vice presidential running mate of Sen. John Kerry who didn't even receive Sen Kerry endorsement when he ran for president in this election cycle ..

    Give me Barack.

    April 9, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
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