Friday, May 2, 2008
McCain's Health Plan - seriously flawed
Candidate John McCain has proposed a health policy reform that will not work, and would worsen the uninsured problem in the United States. Let's take a look:
Seventy-one percent of insured people are now covered (in some fashion) by their employers. McCain proposes eliminating employer sponsored health insurance and giving tax credits to people to buy their own insurance. A family would receive a $5000 tax credit but the typical family premium is $12,000. The consumer can pay the extra $7K or go without insurance. Essentially it would remove the employer from the insurance game and let Americans fend for themselves. Have you enjoyed dealing with your insurance company thus far? How responsive are they to your phone calls or concerns about coverage? McCain says the free market would inspire competition and let those insurance companies compete for your business.
There would be no restrictions on insurers charges or coverage of preexisting conditions. Anyone who self insures today knows what happens if they have a history of cancer or diabetes or asthma or even allergies. They can expect to be penalized with exclusions or premiums that even McCain might blink at. He doesn't need to worry about his own skin cancer because he is covered by his (free) Federal plan. He proposes "high risk pools" to address pre-existing conditions, but has no real plan to ensure that these pools are funded.
McCain's plan does not include universal coverage and it allows companies to sell insurance across State lines, which would eliminate State protections that are already in force. There are no cost controls on premiums. He assumes market competition would work here.
Senator McCain's plan benefits the healthy and wealthy. It is a great windfall for American business. For everyone else, it takes us down the wrong path.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 8:00 AM