When is "guaranteed access" not really much of a guarantee?
John McCain sought to quell concerns about his health-care plan by announcing Tuesday in Tampa, Fla., that he would work with the states to create non-profit entities that would contract with private insurers to cover Americans with pre-existing conditions.
"The details of a Guaranteed Access Plan will be worked out with the collaboration and consent of the states," said McCain. "But, conceptually, federal assistance could be provided to a nonprofit GAP that operated under the direction of a board that included all stakeholders groups -- legislators, insurers, business and medical community representatives, and, most importantly, patients."
McCain's health-policy experts told Politico that the federal government's possible commitment to the states for the new GAP plans would be in the ballpark of $7 billion per year.
On a Tuesday conference call with reporters, Elizabeth Edwards ripped the $7 billion offer of help as a "gross underfunding."
"[McCain] said . . . when he was on George Stephanopoulos, that 72 percent of our health-care costs are attributable to five of the chronic conditions that might be described as pre-existing conditions," said Edwards. "If five of them represent 72 percent of our health-care costs, and if our health-care costs are $2 trillion, a $7 billion a year high risk pool cannot possibly cover it."
"We're talking about $1.4 trillion . . . not $7 billion," she added. "We're talking about the most radical plan ever suggested by a presidential candidate."
So will Elizabeth Edwards, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton's health-care plan, make an endorsement before North Carolina votes on May 6?
"I'd be surprised, but things can happen any day. Never say never," she told MSNBC.
A Politician Breaks from His Pastor:
Six weeks after saying that he can "no more disown" the Rev. Jeremiah Wright than he can "disown the black community," Barack Obama recalibrated his stance towards his former pastor.
"The person I saw yesterday was not the person I met 20 years ago," Barack Obama said Tuesday at a press conference in Winston Salem, N.C. "His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but they end up giving comfort to those that prey on hate."
"When he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions such as the US government somehow being involved in AIDS; when he suggests that Minister Farrakahn somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century; when he equates the US war time efforts with terrorism, then there are no excuses," Obama continued. "They offend me, they rightly offend all Americans and they should be denounced."
"What Rev. Wright said yesterday," he added, "directly contradicts everything I have ever done during my life."
Hillary Clinton appears for the first time Wednesday on the Fox News Channel's "O'Reilly Factor."
"We'll find out."
--Barack Obama on whether the Rev. Jeremiah Wright will hurt his White House bid
On the campaign front. . .
-- Attends events in Indiana
-- 8:30 pm ET: Attends rally with voters, Bloomington, IN
-- 9:45 pm ET: Attends rally with voters, Kokomo, IN
-- 7:45 am ET: Attends event with voters, Apex, NC
-- 9:15 am ET: Attends event with voters, Sanford, NC
-- 10:45 am ET: Attends event with voters, Lillington, NC
-- 12:00 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Dunn, NC