Democratic U.S. presidential candidate John Edwards on Sunday said that he would raise taxes, chiefly on the wealthy, to pay for expanded healthcare coverage under a plan costing $90 billion to $120 billion a year to be unveiled on Monday.

“We’ll have to raise taxes. The only way you can pay for a healthcare plan that cost anywhere from $90 to $120 billion is there has to be a revenue source,” Edwards said on NBC’s Meet the Press news program.

The 2004 vice presidential nominee and former North Carolina senator said his plan would “get rid of George Bush’s tax cuts for people who make over $200,000 a year.”

He said the plan would also reduce healthcare costs.

“Finally we need to do a much better job of collecting the taxes that are already owed,” he said, specifically targeting what he said are large amounts of unpaid capital gains taxes.

“We should have brokerage houses report the capital gains that people are incurring because we’re losing billions and billions of dollars in tax revenue,” Edwards said.

Offering a preview of his plan, Edwards said it aims to bring healthcare coverage to 47 million uninsured Americans, lower costs for the middle class and foster competition.

It would expand Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance plan for the needy, and offer subsidies for the uninsured. He said, “We ask employers to play a bigger role, which means they either have to have coverage or they have to buy into what we’re calling health markets.”

Without providing details, Edwards said his plan would create “health markets” nationwide. One choice available in the markets would be “the government plan, so people who like the idea of a single-payer health insurance plan, that is actually one of the alternatives,” he said.

Edwards declared his candidacy in December calling for fewer U.S. troops in Iraq, a restoration of U.S. world leadership and an end to poverty.

Copyright © 2007 Reuters Limited

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