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E. Edwards v. McCain on health care

From NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy
The Center for American progress held a conference call responding to McCain's health-care roundtable this morning and the impending rollout of his health-care proposal tomorrow. On the call, Elizabeth Edwards responded to the public back-and-forth between her and McCain on whether McCain's plan would cover people like them -- cancer survivors -- and whether McCain's Naval health-care coverage has put him out of touch with the trials of the open healthcare market.

On ABC's "This Week" last Sunday McCain said he would establish a "special Medicaid trust fund set up to help take care for those people who are -- have preexisting conditions." He then referenced that five chronic diseases account for more than 70 percent of the health-care costs in America, but it was unclear if the special "trust fund" McCain referred to would be intended to address those costs.

If so, Edwards said on the center's call this afternoon that the costs associated with such a program would be "enormous."

"If he's talking about expanding Medicaid to cover chronic conditions…he is talking about the most radical expansion of government health care that has been proposed -- that I know of," Edwards said.

She added that if McCain was not planning on expanding Medicaid, then such a fund would demand drastic cuts in the services provided to current Medicaid recipients, and if he was planning on neither of these options then "he's just blowing smoke."

On the senator's receipt of Naval healthcare for nearly his entire life, Edwards said McCain "has never been out in the market he's talking about," adding, "There are a lot of Americans who are out in the market…and what they're finding out is that health insurance is unaffordable."
McCain's plan involves, as he often says, letting "families make the decisions" on health care, which means he favors an open-market solution intended to allow competition to drive prices down.