Elizabeth Edwards: McCain's Health Care Plan "Most Radical In My Lifetime"

07/10/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Sam Stein Senior Politics Editor, The Huffington Post

Elizabeth Edwards continued, on Wednesday, to chip away at John McCain for a health care plan that she deemed "the most radical" she had seen in her 59-years on earth.

Though a Democratic partisan (Edwards now is a health care policy guru for the Center for American Progress), the wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards remains, arguably, one of the most influential female figures in the country. Her failure to endorse Barack Obama was viewed as a potential crack in the presumptive nominee's political coalition. But since the primaries have ended, Edwards has not been shy in showing where her sentiments lie. On Wednesday she said the following of McCain's health care proposal:

"Often Republicans try to skate by the issue of health care without putting out a plan...John McCain didn't do that. He completely breaks that mold. Not only does he have a plan, he has posed the most radical plan in this race, the most radical plan in my lifetime... It ignores what happens in people's lives, how the insurance industry has worked in the past and will work in the future, and it ignores other kinds of deregulations."

McCain and Edwards have butted heads on this issue before, most notably over the Arizona Republican's proposal to promote more coverage in the individual market. Edwards insist such a plan would put those with preexisting conditions at risk of losing their coverage, numbering some 56 million individuals. She also derided a provision in McCain's plan to eliminate tax break for employer-based health coverage and replace it with a tax credit for individuals and families -- something that CAP has contended would result, actually, in the raising of taxes for millions of families.

McCain, in response, has stressed that his proposal would save the government and health care purchasers money, and that its "comprehensive" nature would allow states to use some Medicaid funds to help subsidize insurance for those who either can't afford it or have poor health.

McCain "wouldn't simply say, 'Hey, here's a tax credit -- go have fun,'" said adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin.