McCain’s Radical Health Care Proposals

I’ve pointed out many times that one of McCain’s greatest potential political liabilities is his health care plan. Not only will it do virtually nothing to assist those who lack adequate coverage, but it will make conditions much worse for many who are covered. Republicans typically attack Democratic health care plan with scare tactics such as falsely claiming they represent “socialized medicine.” This time it is the Republican candidate who has a plan which voters should really be scared about. I’ve been surprised that Obama has not been raising this issue often, but at least I’m seeing it discussed more often by others. Bob Herbert does so today. He writes:

A study coming out Tuesday from scholars at Columbia, Harvard, Purdue and Michigan projects that 20 million Americans who have employment-based health insurance would lose it under the McCain plan…

For starters, the McCain health plan would treat employer-paid health benefits as income that employees would have to pay taxes on.

“It means your employer is going to have to make an estimate on how much the employer is paying for health insurance on your behalf, and you are going to have to pay taxes on that money,” said Sherry Glied, an economist who chairs the Department of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health…

According to the study: “The McCain plan will force millions of Americans into the weakest segment of the private insurance system — the nongroup market — where cost-sharing is high, covered services are limited and people will lose access to benefits they have now.”

The net effect of the plan, the study said, “almost certainly will be to increase family costs for medical care.”

Under the McCain plan (now the McCain-Palin plan) employees who continue to receive employer-paid health benefits would look at their pay stubs each week or each month and find that additional money had been withheld to cover the taxes on the value of their benefits.

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