Elizabeth Edwards: Americans Are ‘Left Outside The Clinic Doors’ With McCain’s Health Care Plan

elizabeth_edwards.jpg Elizabeth Edwards and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) have both survived cancer — breast cancer and melanoma, respectively. But as Edwards observed this week, “Neither one of us would be covered by his [McCain’s] health policy.”

In response, McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin criticized Edwards, saying her comments were “disappointing” and a misunderstanding of McCain’s “comprehensive” plan:

[Holtz-Eakin] said Saturday that Edwards’ comments were disappointing and that they revealed she did not understand the comprehensive nature of the senator’s proposal.

Holtz-Eakin said McCain’s policy would harness “the power of competition to produce greater coverage for Americans.” Because McCain’s plan would lower the cost of healthcare through competition, Holtz-Eakin said, it would reduce costs for consumers with or without preexisting conditions.

McCain’s plan, which largely extends the failures of the President Bush’s health care approach and gives insurance companies a pass, is hardly “comprehensive.” Today on the Wonk Room, Edwards responds to Holtz-Eakin, noting that McCain’s plan shuts Americans “outside the clinic doors”:

I freely admit that I am confused about the role of overnight funding in repurchase markets in the collapse of Bear Stearns. What I am not confused about is John McCain’s health care proposal. Apparently Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a senior policy advisor to McCain, thinks I do “not understand the comprehensive nature of the senator’s proposal.”

The problem, Douglas, is that, despite fuzzy language and feel-good lines in the Senator’s proposal, I do understand exactly how devastating it will be to people who have the health conditions with which the Senator and I are confronted (melanoma for him, breast cancer for me) but do not have the financial resources we have. In very unconfusing language: they are left outside the clinic doors.

Ten million Americans live with cancer today, and three of four families will help care for a family member with cancer. But health experts note that cancer survivors are routinely denied insurance when they try to purchase insurance as individuals.

“As one of those [voters] with a pre-existing condition, I sure would like some straight talk,” writes Edwards. Read her full response at the Wonk Room.