Edwards Calls For Expansion Of Health Insurance To All Residents

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Democraticpresidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) on Tuesday during anappearance at the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley in Milford, N.H.,said that as president he would seek to end health insurance for lawmakers inthe event that they do not approve legislation to expand coverage to all U.S.residents by July 2009, the Nashua Telegraph reports. According to Edwards, theelection of a Democratic presidential candidate will not ensure the expansionof health insurance to all residents.

"Democrats controlled every branch of government in 1993, and it stilldidn't grant universal health care," he said, adding, "There are somevery good Democratic candidates, but there are significant differences." Edwardsalso said that his experience as a trial lawyer would help in efforts to expandhealth insurance to all residents. "I believe we need a fighter as ourDemocratic candidate," he said (NashuaTelegraph, 11/14).

Rx Drug Patents

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Edwards on Tuesday duringan appearance at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.,said that as president he would consider the elimination of patent protectionfor "breakthrough" prescription drugs to help reduce costs andincrease access to the medications, Reuters reports. Edwards said, "We'doffer a cash prize for the research and development of these drugs, but theydon't get a patent. So we eliminate the monopoly."

In addition, he said, "It would also create a different dynamic for drugcompanies and particularly for breakthrough drugs in big areas likeAlzheimer's, cancer, etc.," adding, "The idea is you've got to givethe financial incentive for the companies to do it, but on the flip side, youget the products to the market quicker, available quickly and at a much lowercost" (Malone, Reuters, 11/13).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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