Kerry and Edwards see healthcare as key in presidential race

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Both presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and his running mate Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) proposed large-scale healthcare reforms during the primary race, some of which could affect small businesses and the elderly. It's unclear how the plans will form for the race. Kerry asked Sen. John Edwards on Tuesday to run on the Democrat ticket against incumbent George W. Bush in November.

Kerry's proposal would expand public health insurance programs such as Medicaid. The federal government would take on the costs of workers whose annual healthcare expenses exceed $50,000.

Kerry would also allow small businesses to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Under his plan, the federal government would provide small businesses with tax credits to cover as much as 50% of the cost of health insurance premiums for employees who make less than 300% of the federal poverty level -- about $55,000 for a family of four.

Kerry has said that he would finance the $635 billion plan (over 10 years) through the repeal of tax cuts approved by President Bush for families with annual incomes higher than $200,000.

As a presidential candidate earlier this year, Edwards proposed a $53 billion healthcare plan. Among other facets of his proposal, adults ages 55 and older and their younger spouses could purchase health coverage through Medicare.