Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Stripping the bark off the McCain health insurance proposal

Since the election is all about who is elitist and out of touch, who is more pious, who is the Antichrist, and who is white, I thought somebody, somewhere, might have an interest in public policy. Nobody seems to know it, but here's what John McCain wants to do to you.

First, he will eliminate the tax exclusion for employer-provided health insurance.


Many working adults will immediately lose their current health insurance, as small businesses that are already struggling to provide it will have little reason to continue.

Everybody else will immediately face a large tax increase, unless they decide to drop their employer-provided coverage.

McCain will use the new taxes (in other words, don't read his lips) to give people a $2,500 refundable tax credit for individuals, or $5,000 for families, to buy health insurance on the open market, as an individual.


Even with the tax credit, low income people still won't be able to afford insurance, so they'll just stay uninsured.

Moderate income people may find insurance they can afford, but it will have high co-payments and deductibles, which means that if they are injured or get sick, they will have to pay more out of pocket.

As health care costs continue to increase, if Congress doesn't increase the tax credit, health insurance will become less and less affordable and more and more people will be uninsured.

Insurance companies will be allowed to use medical underwriting. Consequences:

People who are older, or in poorer health, will have to pay more, or may not be able to buy insurance at all.

People will not be able to get coverage for "pre-existing conditions."

Insurance companies will be able to sell policies across state lines, meaning that state regulation of insurance will become meaningless. Consequences:

State mandates to cover preventive services such as cancer screenings, disease management, smoking cessation, etc., will become ineffective. Insurance companies will stop offering these benefits, because even though they save money in the long run, you as an individual probably won't still be their customer by the time the savings are realized -- either because you'll be on Medicare by then, you won't be able to afford insurance at all any more, or they threw you off the plan because, yup, you got sick.

McCain proposes to create a plan of last resort for people who can't buy insurance on the market, but it won't actually offer any help: it will have high costs, limited benefits, and exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

The Republicans argue that "competition" among insurance companies, and consumer choice, will lower costs, but it isn't true. Insurance companies compete by trying to skim healthier customers and charging sicker people more; and consumers don't choose to get medical procedures or take prescription drugs just because somebody else is paying for them, they get those services and goods because they actually need them. If they can't afford them, they won't get preventive services and treatment.

My friends, The McCain health care "reform plan" will mean:

  1. Higher taxes.

  2. More uninsured people.

  3. Higher costs for health insurance.

  4. Less preventive care, and a sicker population.

  5. Higher health care costs in the long run.

  6. Injustice -- sick people won't be able to get health care.

  7. Bigger profits for insurance companies.

I'm Cervantes, and I approved this message.


facebook fun said...

the government has to give the highest priority for health insurance and coverage.At any cost,health should not be neglected.many services regarding health and others are provided by health insurance,which would be of great use

Stephen said...

There are still so many people out there without Health Insurance this is not really good.