DETROIT — Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Thursday proposed cutting healthcare costs by overhauling the patent process for breakthrough drugs and requiring health insurance companies to spend at least 85% of their premiums on patient care.
During an appearance at the East Riverside Health Center, a federally funded community clinic, the former senator from North Carolina offered details of the universal healthcare proposal he had released in February.
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 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 healthcare crisis is about more than just about coverage," Edwards said. "Our healthcare system is entirely too expensive. We put more money into healthcare than any country in the industrialized world, and we get one of the worst products out in the other end."