Absoluetly frightening. Surreal. Those might be two of the kinder ways to describe John Edward’s latest universal healthcare proposal, which would take the concept of required participation to a whole new level. Here’s the AP’s description:

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said on Sunday that his universal health care proposal would require that Americans go to the doctor for preventive care.

“It requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get preventive care,” he told a crowd sitting in lawn chairs in front of the Cedar County Courthouse. “If you are going to be in the system, you can’t choose not to go to the doctor for 20 years. You have to go in and be checked and make sure that you are OK.”

He noted, for example, that women would be required to have regular mammograms in an effort to find and treat “the first trace of problem.” Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, announced earlier this year that her breast cancer had returned and spread.

Edwards said his mandatory health care plan would cover preventive, chronic and long-term health care. The plan would include mental health care as well as dental and vision coverage for all Americans.

“The whole idea is a continuum of care, basically from birth to death,” he said.

So Edwards wants to create a state-run healthcare system that criminalizes not having certain medical procedures at the exact, presumably stringent, intervals determined by the state. And, logical, if the government would fine and/or imprison women for (say) not having a mammograms as often as the state determines is necessary, why shouldn’t it also fine and/or imprison someone for not following through with medical treatment determined necessary at those preventive care visits that you’re not allowed to miss?

And how exactly is this at all compatible with any concept of personal liberty?