As CBS News Correspondent Bianca Solorzano reports, Edwards told an audience in Philadelphia that the nation's economic problems may draw attention and money that might have been spent on fixing the health care system.
"I'm more discouraged than I was before," Edwards said.
Edwards also says she sparred with Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama over his health care policy, which mandates insurance for children, but not for adults.
"It's not just for your protection that you have health insurance," Edwards said. "It's also for the protection of everybody else's dollars that you make certain that everybody who comes and needs the services of our health care system has insurance and is therefore able to pay for their care."
Edwards kept her remarks to health care policy. After being diagnosed with cancer herself, she's become a respected speaker on the subject. Last night's speech was her first since her husband -- two-time democratic presidential candidate and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards -- publicly admitted last month to an extramarital affair with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter.
"I made a very serious mistake. A mistake that I am responsible for and no one else. In 2006, I told Elizabeth about the mistake, asked for her forgiveness, asked God for his forgiveness," John Edwards said when news of his affair went public.
Elizabeth Edwards has remained quiet about her husband's infidelity -- issuing only a brief statement last month saying "I am proud of the courage John showed by his honesty in the face of shame."
As for John Edwards, he's cancelled all public events until after the election -- saying he doesn't want to be a distraction to his party's ticket.