Rallying support for Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of Senator John Edwards (D-NC), spoke last night about the challenges facing the country’s health care system.

“It’s immoral for us to know that this system is disadvantaging good people and [to] not do anything about it,” Edwards said on the current health care system, identifying what she called the “moral imperative” of moving toward more universal health care coverage by the government.

“You need to make sure everybody has coverage, and nobody gets left out,” she said.

The event, entitled “Sick and Broke,” was held at The George Washington University and featured a question and answer session moderated by Ezra Klein, associate editor of The American Prospect.

Both Klein’s own questions, as well as questions previously submitted by GWU students, focused on the distinctions between Obama’s health care plan and that of Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ).

Naming Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) one of several “titans” on health care, Edwards said that it would probably take leadership from the White House to comprehensively solve problems within the current health care system, making next week’s presidential election even more critical.

“We’re on the verge of an Obama presidency,” Edwards said. “With eight days to go, it certainly looks like that.”

Edwards stressed the importance of a responsive administration and increased health care coverage for all Americans.

“It can happen to anyone,” she said, referring to life-threatening diseases that necessitate operations and citing her own battle with breast cancer. “I had never been to the hospital besides when I had my babies; I was perfectly healthy.”

Edwards addressed the specific case of Virginia mine worker James Lowe, who was born with a cleft palate so severe that he was unable to speak. Lowe, however, could not afford surgery because his employer did not offer him health insurance.

“I’m guessing we spent more on mascara in this country than the cost of that operation,” Edwards said grimly.

When asked about how America might encourage new physicians to go into primary treatment Edwards quipped that they might try watching the ABC television series “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“See? It works!” she joked, swiftly met by laughter from the audience.

“I’d rather talk about how we birthed the problem,” Edwards said, shifting to a more serious tone and naming the high costs associated with going to medical school as the source of the decreasing popularity of primary practices for young doctors.

“Students come in with a lot of loans that need repayment,” said added.

Klein also pressed Edwards on the issue of innovation within a more federalized health care system.

“There needs to be a profit margin, but it doesn’t need to be as obscene as it is now,” she said, recognizing the private sector as a source of innovation, while adding that, “innovation is not between your insurer and you.”

s. Edwards further noted the necessity of genetic testing as a means of prevention, though she added that many Americans lack an incentive in pursuing these tests for fear of increased health insurance costs.

“We want to be able to solve people’s problems efficiently,” she said,

The event was hosted by The George Washington University’s Center for American Progress and was open to the public. Later this week, C-SPAN will air the complete question and answer session.

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