Friday, June 15, 2007

Edwards Lays Out Health Care Plan

From The New York Times:
DETROIT (AP) -- Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Thursday proposed cutting health care costs by overhauling the patent process for breakthrough drugs and requiring health insurance companies to spend at least 85 percent of their premiums on patient care....

Edwards' plan would offer cash payments in place of long-term patents for companies that develop certain breakthrough drugs and then reap large profits because of the monopolies those patents provide.

He said offering cash incentives instead would allow multiple companies to produce generic and other versions of those drugs to drive down prices. Campaign officials said the payments could be voluntary for drug companies and would be aimed at spurring the development of drugs that cure diseases.

'Dealing with the health care crisis is about more than just about coverage,'' Edwards said. ''Our health care system is entirely too expensive. We put more money into health care than any country in the industrialized world and we get one of the worst products out in the other end.''

He also said his plan would require health insurance companies to spend at least 85 percent of the premiums they collect on patient care, adding that 30 percent of insurance premiums currently go toward administrative expenses and profit. He said New York, Minnesota, New Jersey, Florida already impose similar requirements.

His plan also would require that all Americans sign up for health insurance and would enact various reforms aimed at lowering administrative costs for providers and improving chronic and preventive care for patients. About 47 million people currently lack health insurance in the United States.

No comments: