Former US Senator John Edwards became the first presidential candidate to release a comprehensive national health care plan on Monday. He described his program as providing “transformational” change.
His plan, with the goal of universal health care insurance coverage, was drastically different from a more modest approach he offered as a presidential candidate four years ago.
Why the change? Is it the result of changes in health care, the political environment, or his own thinking?
“I would say it is some combination of all three,” Edwards said in an interview with the Globe. “I think America has gotten to the place where small increments are not enough.”
His plan is similar to the new health care law in Massachusetts, offering a range of programs to make sure every resident is insured. But his proposal places a heavier emphasis on employers to provide health insurance.
“I think that employers have a moral responsibility [to provide health insurance],” Edwards said.
To help employers pay for health insurance, he would create regional non-profit “health markets” that pool different public and private plans, allowing for cheaper plans.
His plan would take three years to implement and would require tax increases on those earning more than $200,000 a year.
Asked if tax increases doom his plan, he said, "The American people are smarter than political consultants say they are. They understand you can’t get anything for free.”