April 9th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
3 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. LucieLee

    I appreciate Elizabeth Edwards' efforts in wanting to help the uninsured.......but I worry about her saying she has confidence in Hillary's healthcare plan....Hillary is a woman who tried this plan once before and it failed miserably~!! Anything short of a healthcare plan that's not like that of the UK or Canada is not a universal plan. There is also another problem with this healthcare plan....it has ZERO chance of making it through Congress~!! I like the choices Obama offers in his plan....and I would like the plan that he and other members of Congress have......but apparently only Congress thinks they are entitled to it right now......

    April 9, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. dale

    Why do I care what the wife of a failed candidate thinks about anything?

    April 9, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. Kimberly

    God bless you Elizabeth!! You are an amazing woman!

    April 9, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. Becky, WI

    Lostfigs you've lost your marbles!!

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

    Last I checked, it was MRS. Edwards who made these statements, not her husband.

    Get the facts straight!!

    April 9, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. Mary

    Obama is buying the White House, plain and simple....all with dollars his supporters could be using for aid to the poor...what a sadly simple-mided move it is to spend your vote on someone who is little more than a skilled orator....caveat emptor

    April 9, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. SSgt USAF

    Elizabeth Edwards certainly hasn't missed a meal....

    April 9, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  7. Ken

    Mrs Edwards is a very smart woman, when she says that Clinton's health plan is better than Obama's plan. SO TRUE!

    I would hope that Edwards would come out and throw is support behind Clinton, for she is more aligned with the goals and issues than anyone else.

    Obama cannot be trusted to bring about the changes that he is promising the American people. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, can!

    April 9, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. Sharon , Seattle

    Hillary Clinton failed once already to get a health plan in place. She owes too many people to get a plan together that works for the average American family. She's beholden to the industry.

    April 9, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. Indianapolis Voter

    It is only the truth, Obama's plan is bound to fail and we'll keep having the same problem. Senator Clinton and Senator Edwards both have the same priority in their plan... us.

    Thank you Mrs. Edwards.

    Go Hillary

    April 9, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. Diane

    Okay, and...he'll probably endorse Clinton anyway. Who cares?

    April 9, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. Kim

    Dan in TX, get your facts straight, Cliniton did not duplicate Edwards plan, her plan has been the same from the beginning, she has not diverted from her plan, and you people need to stop listening to the foolishness about peoples checks being garnished, there are rebates for the individuals that can't afford it, and there are tax breaks for those who pay the full cost for their plans, maybe if you took the time out to read and explore both plans and stop listening to the mess you hear on the media you would understand it. Elizabeth Edwards is correct Clinton's plan is the only one that will work and give erveryone the opportunity for coverage.

    April 9, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Mauri

    Elizabeth Edwards says she has more confidence in Senator Clinton and her health care plan than she does Obama's. That makes two of us. But my confidence is not so limited. This lady who wants to be our president, is the one who can sensibly lead this country in its present state of crises, whether it be the war, foreign policy, trade agreements, jobs, or in turning around blunders by the George W. Bush administration. By now, she has as many endorsements by as many important people as Obama does, and these people expect nothing from her except that they know she can deliver the goods. Yes, Elizabeth, you've made the right call here. And we all owe you a big thank you!

    April 9, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. Michael C Wolski

    This Plan is sure going to make the insurance companies happy. Just like they did with auto insurance, they are going to do with health care. If you don't have it , you will be FINED. Will the fine double after 30 days,60daysor 90days??????How will payroll garnishment work to pay the fines if you're unemployed???With all the people out of work with the "wonderful" economy,who is going to take up the slack, taxpayers?????

    April 9, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  14. Tyler, Wilmington, NC

    To Robert: Elizabeth does have a say in this... her husband made millions from taking up lawsuits for families against big corporations that made defective products that killed many children. In addition, he made money from defending families who's doctors practiced their tradiational Bible Belt beliefs on having child birth when the woman died from not surgically having the babies by c-section. To say that Edwards made money of the current health system could not be more incorrect. Edwards made money off old biased traditional judgements from doctors who did not do their job. I lived in Greenville, NC and Wilmington, NC, so unless you have a closer proxomity to knowing something about my former senator, let me know how you justify your statement.

    It's about time one of the Edwards got us back to talking about issues that matter for this country and those of us who live here rather than arguing about race, gender, or who said what petty thing in a speech.

    Hillary/Edwards '08!!!

    April 9, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Joseph

    More sour grapes from the Edwards. Half of Edwards' delegates have already pledged to Obama. These self serving wannabes have had their day in the sun.

    April 9, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. Nancy

    You know it is amazing if she were to endorse Obama's health care then this post would say what a great person she is, but because she has not then some say and quote

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

    What a bunch of hypocrites.

    April 9, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. 4 Obama N Cali

    I respectfully disagree with Ms. Edwards. Clinton had her chance for health care reform 8 years ago and failed miserably. Her jig is up. Time for a new voice to be heard in working towards a change in health care.

    April 9, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  18. paul in pittsburgh

    OF COURSE SHE DID, BECAUSE HILLARY'S PLANS ARE BETTER...ALL OF THEM..AND SHE IS THE BEST CANDIDATE BY FAR.

    AND TO ROBERT: EDWARDS MADE HIS MILLIONS SUING BIG COMPANIES, INCLUDING HOSPITALS AND HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS. PLEASE BE INFORMED BEFORE MAKING ANY COMMENTS..........

    April 9, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. Evelyn

    Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who has a universal health care plan.
    That's why I voted for her in the Texas Primary and hope that citizens in the next remaining primaries take the time to look beyond campaign hype, national media bias, and pundits from the peanut gallery and carefully examine the stand on the issues and importantly the policies in detail. All three candidates have a website where you can read their policies and plans.
    Also- examining their voting records wherever they held public office would also be good.

    April 9, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. Bella from Florida

    Hillary has demonstrated her knowlegde and experience on the economy . Obama 's Heal;th Care plan will still leave a lot of Americans uninsured and the only way that we can fix this mess we are in is to have Universal Health Care for all Americans. I think Obama's plan is just a patch to get some people Health Care, but Hillary's Plan will solve this great problem that many Americans have.
    Please, let's not have the media choose our next President. I also do not see him winning in the General Election against McCain.

    April 9, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. Ratgurl

    That's called SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. I'd rather have choices that are appropriate for me & my lifestyle.

    Is someone trying to suck up to Hillary? She could really use those 26 delegates!

    April 9, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. Soon to be Independent

    Elizabeth Edwards...SHUT UP

    April 9, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. demwit

    No seriously..,

    I wonder which plan Kucinich's hot red-headed wife thinks is the best plan..

    April 9, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. Uncle Sam

    How can Americans choose someone to lead this country who is a virtual unknown? Alarming.

    April 9, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. Peter in Canada

    Hillary's plan and her amazing flexibility in working with others was such a great success back in 1995, I'm sure it will work this time though...uh hugh!
    Obama is simply being a realist, we have a "universal" helth plan in my country and it works sometimes and for some, however it absolutely precludes private insurers from maintaining a significant role. You cannot BUY private insurance!
    How does the US think it is going to achieve universality and still maintain a private insurer system?? It's not possible!
    I'm sure Elizabeth prefers her husbands taste in cars, his ties and the color of his suits over Obama as well.

    April 9, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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