Edwards fielded questions from the moderator and the audience as part of Tuesdays with Friday, a discussion forum hosted by former UNC-system President Bill Friday.
Having appeared on the Fox News program "The O'Reilly Factor" and PBS' "The McLaughlin Group," Edwards showed poise and confidence while answering questions.
A major issue brought up first by Friday, then again by the audience, was HMOs. Edwards has been working with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to solve problems plaguing health care and to negotiate a bipartisan Patients' Bill of Rights.
"We are trying to create a law that instead of empowering HMOs can empower patients and the doctors," Edwards said.
He added that he wants to give patients more control over their health care and treatment decisions.
But HMOs were not the only topic of interest to audience members.
Edwards also addressed the projected $5.6 trillion budget surplus expected to be a fixture on America's political landscape for the next 10 years.
Some disagreement has broken out on Capitol Hill about how to spend the money. One option is a $1.3 trillion tax cut, proposed by President Bush.
Although Edwards said he does support a tax cut, he said the money could be used to fund public schools, give financial support to the elderly and pay off a portion of the national debt.