Archive » September 4, 2008
FROM THE LEFT
By David Phillips, Contributing Writer
Obama and McCain on health care
This season’s presidential hopefuls, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., both have talked about health care while stumping across America. I will try and point out the central themes of both candidates on this issue so you can decide which one is better for you and your family.
There are 47 million Americans who do not have any health care, and in 2007, according to our government, 89 million Americans went without health care for all or part of the year. The Congressional Budget Office has said that by 2012, 150 million Americans will no longer be able to afford the costs of health care.
Both candidates agree that rising health care costs must be reined in, but how? The difference between Obama’s plan and McCain’s plan are like night and day, so which plan is best?
Obama wants to provide health care for every American citizen
Universal health care is a fact of life in every western industrialized nation on earth but one: the United States of America.
Senator Obama’s health plan will not require you, your family or anyone else to change the health plans that you have. In fact, if you are happy with your plan, nothing will change for you or your family.
Obama will make available a new national health plan to all Americans, including the self-employed and small businesses, to make it possible to buy affordable health coverage that is similar to the plan available to members of Congress.
Senator Obama’s plan will include:
No American will be turned away from any insurance plan because of illness or pre-existing conditions.
The benefit package will be similar to that offered through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the plan members of Congress have. The plan will cover all essential medical services, including preventive, maternity and mental health care.
Individuals and families who do not qualify for Medicaid or State Children’s Health Insurance Program, but who still need financial assistance, will receive an income-related federal subsidy to buy into the new public plan or to purchase a private health care plan.
The new public plan will be simple to enroll in and will provide ready access to coverage.
Portability and choice
Participants in the new public plan and the National Health Insurance Exchange will be able to move from job to job without changing or jeopardizing their health care coverage.
Support for small businesses
Barack Obama will create a Small Business Health Tax Credit to provide small businesses with a refundable tax credit of up to 50 percent on premiums paid by small businesses on behalf of their employees. This new credit will provide a strong incentive to small businesses to offer high quality health care to their workers and to help improve the competitiveness of America’s small businesses.
McCain wants the free market to control health care costs
McCain wants to keep the so-called free market in health care as it is and offer up a health care tax break for every American citizen. McCain says he will give a family of four up to a $5,000 tax credit, and allow employees to shop for their own health care. McCain will remove employers’ costs of health care, which will increase profits for businesses.
But the average annual cost in 2008 to insure a family of four is approximately $15,000, which McCain says he will give back as a $5,000 dollar tax credit. This is a $10,000-a-year out-of-pocket expense for a family of four.
McCain says that a free market will create competition and lower health care costs for everyone. But it is that very same free market that runs health care today, and it is that same free market that has driven up the costs of health care.
Senator McCain’s plan will include:
Lowering drug prices. John McCain will look to bring greater competition to our drug markets through safe re-importation of drugs and faster introduction of generic drugs.
Greater access and convenience
Families place a high value on quickly getting simple care. Government should promote greater access through walk-in clinics in retail outlets.
Greater use of information technology to reduce costs. We should promote the rapid deployment of 21st century information systems and technology that will allow doctors to practice across state lines.
Both candidates have their health plans listed on their websites. I urge everyone to read what each has to say.