That if John Edwards gets elected and his socialized medicine program becomes law, verily, you WILL pay.
Under the Edwards plan, when Americans file their income taxes, they would be required to submit a letter from an insurance provider confirming coverage for themselves and their dependents.
If someone did not submit proof of coverage, the Internal Revenue Service would notify a newly established regional or state-based health-care agency (which Edwards has dubbed a Health Care Market).
Those regional agencies would then evaluate whether the uninsured individual was eligible for Medicare (which covers those over 65), Medicaid (which covers the indigent), or S-CHIP (the State Children’s Health Insurance Program which targets the working poor).
If the individual was not eligible for either of those existing public programs, the regional-health care agency would enroll the individual into the lowest cost health-care plan available in that area. The lowest-cost option could be a new Medicare-like public option or a private insurance plan.
The newly covered individual would not only have access to health benefits but would also be responsible for making monthly payments with the help of a tax credit.
The exact size of the financial obligation would vary according to a person’s income (lower-income Americans would receive larger tax credits).
If a person did not meet his or her monthly financial obligation for a set period of time (perhaps a year, perhaps longer) the Edwards plan would empower the federal government to garnish an individual’s wages for purposes of collecting “back premiums with interest and collection costs.”
The process, according to the Edwards campaign, would resemble the process used to collect money from Americans who are delinquent on federal student loans or child support payments.
A new class of American: The Deadbeat Healthy Person
Now you know and I know that there are people just creaming in their jeans for this. I’m not the most adept political analyst, but I expect Edwards’ numbers to go up a significant amount in the coming weeks as his very specific plan is revealed.