Presidential Hopeful Edwards Discusses Health Plan

Saturday, February 17th 2007, 7:41 pm
By: News On 6

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Former vice presidential candidate John Edwards took his plan for universal health care to union-strong Las Vegas on Saturday, visiting the local branch of the electrical workers labor group to which his brother belongs.

Edwards told about 300 people at the local office of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers that his brother Blake, an electrician, benefited from their help.

``Thank you to IBEW and thank you for what the union has done for my brother and his family,'' Edwards said.

The Edwards campaign is hoping his ties to the labor movement will help him gain support in Nevada, which has taken on new importance in the Democratic nomination calendar since winning the No. 2 spot between Iowa and New Hampshire.

Edwards' health care plan, which he unveiled two weeks ago, requires employers to cover their workers or pay into a fund to help them. It also mandates that health care providers decrease administrative costs and switch to electronic records, and would create a market for individuals and small businesses to shop for coverage providers.

``It creates market power for people who don't have it, competition that doesn't presently exist,'' Edwards said.

Rick DeVoe, a Las Vegas insulation installer who volunteers for a local branch of Edwards' ``One Corps'' community service movement, said Edwards' health care stance is one of the reasons he supports the candidate.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, failed in her health care reforms when she was former President Clinton's first lady, DeVoe said. ``They didn't get it done,'' he said. ``Instead of taking a firm stand on what they think is right, it got so watered down and complicated that it wound up completely falling apart.''