Sen. Casey: Let's See McCain Survive Without Gov't Health Care

As the two presidential campaigns assault each other over past associations, the Obama campaign took the opportunity on Monday afternoon to cast John McCain's health care plan as a product of "misguided, reckless ideology."

Taking to the phones, Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and former Florida Sen. Bob Graham determinedly laid into McCain for proposing a policy that would result in massive Medicare cuts and higher taxes for some insured.

"Think about this proposal in the context of others, [and] you have to wonder about what John McCain and his running mate's priorities are for America," said Casey. "This is not putting your country first, it is putting a radical, misguided, reckless ideology ahead of the interest of families of America."

Casey went so far as to challenge McCain to "survive without his government provided health insurance," in order to better understand the struggles of those uncovered by their employers.

"We have a pretty good deal and it is about time the American people have access to the same insurance we do," he said.

The call is part of a concerted effort by the Obama campaign to shine the political spotlight on health care and Social Security issues in the wake of the current financial crisis. The effort has included a bevy of television and radio ads, blasting McCain for seeking to privatize both these programs. The two Senators were granted an assist from the Wall Street Journal this morning, which reported that the McCain campaign would fund health-care related tax credits (which they believe will help people pay for their own insurance) through massive cuts in Medicare and Medicaid. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain's senior policy adviser, said savings in those two programs will come from cutting waste and unnecessary spending.

"I think the fact that this health care plan has been examined now and the Wall Street Journal would say in the lead paragraph that it could results in cuts of 1.3 trillion dollars in over ten years is further proof that John McCain's campaign is being run by conservative ideologues who have no connection to what is going on in people's daily lives," said Casey.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman backed up Casey and Graham in his Monday column, writing:

In short, the McCain plan makes no sense at all, unless you have faith that the magic of the marketplace can solve all problems. And Mr. McCain does: a much-quoted article published under his name declares that "Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation."

I agree: the McCain plan would do for health care what deregulation has done for banking. And I'm terrified.