McCain’s Health Care Plan: Increases Taxes, Decreases Coverage
by Seth Michaels, Apr 29, 2008
Today in Tampa, Fla., Sen. John McCain gave an address his advisers claimed would “unveil” his health care proposal—but he essentially offered the same tired proposal he’s been touting for months. Most policy analysts agree this plan won’t cut costs, won’t cover more people and won’t fix the real problems in the health care system.
McCain wants to address our nation’s health care crisis by merely shifting costs around—and millions of people would pay higher health care costs as a result. McCain would tax health care benefits as income and push more people out of group insurance pools and into the often-predatory private market. In short, McCain would increase our taxes and ensure fewer of us could afford quality health care.
AFL-CIO union members in Florida were on hand as McCain spoke to ask him to change course and offer some real answers on health care.
Yesterday, McCain met with a father and son at a Florida hospital and listened to the father’s story of his struggle to pay for his son’s health care. But McCain didn’t mention that his plan would leave that nine-year-old boy without coverage. How’s that for straight talk?
Economist Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, says McCain’s health care proposal shows little comprehension of the issue. Indeed, Hickey says, the proposal is “a dangerous fraud” and based on a theory “contradicted by the facts.”
McCain’s health care plan, as it currently exists, wouldn’t lower costs or expand coverage. Instead, through changing the tax system for health benefits, it could result in many employers cutting off health benefits altogether.
The massive upheaval that would result—millions of families losing their health coverage on the job and then having to try to find an insurance company that would sell them a new policy that would cover their families—that’s not an unintended consequence of his proposal. That chaotic loss of health security is exactly what McCain intends to happen. He wants us all to buy insurance not as part of a group—like an employee group or a co-op—that can negotiate for better coverage at lower premiums, but as individuals, at the mercy of the private insurance companies.
And get this: McCain wants to abolish the regulations that currently exist in most states that require companies to insure people with pre-existing conditions, provide benefits that don’t exclude some medical conditions, and prevent them from charging huge premiums for crumby benefits.
McCain’s plan is exactly the wrong answer to give working families at a time when health care premiums have been rising 10 times as fast as income. The nearly 27,000 responses to the online AFL-CIO 2008 Health Care for America Survey earlier this year shows the problem goes beyond the millions of people who lack insurance. The more than 7,000 who took time to write comments made it clear that many more of us are at risk of losing coverage or being denied care. Working families, even those with insurance, already are paying high costs and having trouble getting the medical care they need.
Who really wins in the McCain health care plan? The insurance and pharmaceutical companies whose lobbyists fund and staff McCain’s campaign. Those special interests couldn’t have written a better plan than McCain’s, which would roll back regulations that protect consumers from denials of coverage and excessive premiums. And to top it off, his corporate tax cut proposals would give the top 10 insurance companies nearly $2 billion.
The AFL-CIO is making health care a major part of the campaign to turn around America. Unions are greeting McCain around the country this week to ask for real solutions on health care. Union members and leaders have attended meetings about the health care crisis around the country, and next month, union members will distribute more than a million fliers at worksites and set up phone banks to get the word out on the issue of health care. On May 17, thousands of union members will walk door to door to educate and mobilize working families on how they can make sure the next president makes implementing a real health care plan a top priority.
Tags: McCain , Taxes , Election , Health Care , Health
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.