With everything else in the news, you may not have had the time to pay attention to the differences between the Obama and McCain health plans. But converging with the bad financial news is new information about just how radical John McCain's health reform proposal is.
A new study by Thomas Buchmueller et al out in the prestigious journal Health Affairs notes that McCain's health plan could cause at least 20 million already insured Americans to lose their coverage. Yes, LOSE their coverage. Why is that? Because McCain proposes taxing employer-sponsored health coverage. Every week, workers who have health insurance coverage would find that they are now paying taxes on that coverage. No new taxes? This is one of the biggest and most radical tax increase proposals in twenty years.
But the story actually gets worse -- if an employer decided to drop their health insurance coverage, workers would be forced into the individual insurance market to find coverage on their own. McCain offers no real solution to either the costs of individual coverage or the fact that many people could not even get it at any price because of pre-existing conditions. It has been widely noted that even Senator McCain with his prior health conditions and Elizabeth Edwards would have trouble finding coverage in the individual market.
What does Obama offer? An article in the Wall Street Journal today by Obama's health adviser, David Cutler, points out five ways Obama's plan is better -- in short, Obama proposes to allow workers to keep their current benefits or join a public plan that would be modeled after the one Congress and federal workers have. And Obama includes features such as providing more access to preventive services, and paying providers for their performance not just for doing more.
With the stock market in decline and the economy faltering, we cannot afford McCain's risky and radical health plan.