McCain’s Nightmare Health Care Plan – Admits He Will Raise Taxes But That’s Just Scratching The Surface

From Think Progress:

Last week, during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who has previously promised “not [to] raise your taxes nor support a tax increase,” finally admitted that his health care tax credits would not cover the costs of a comprehensive health insurance plan:

MCCAIN: Actually, my position is that it will be, it will give people actually more money to go out and purchase tax – health insurance on their own and only those with the Cadillac gold-plated health insurance policies today are the ones who might suffer from it. The ones –

STEPHANOPOULOS: So they would see their taxes go up potentially.

MCCAIN: It depends on, on, on what plan they have. But that’s usually the wealthiest people. Ordinary working Americans have the kind of – or an overwhelming majority have the health insurance plans that this tax credit, refundable tax credit, will actually put more money in their pockets for the purchase of health care than what they had before.

Watch (starts about 52 sec in):

 

Progressive Accountability takes a closer look at McCain’s plan:

McCain’s Plan Will Tax Families For Their Health Care Benefits & Force Employers To Stop Offering Coverage For Millions Of Americans

McCain’s Plan Would Remove Incentives For Employers To Provide Health Insurance. According to the New York Times, McCain’s health care plan calls “for eliminating the tax breaks that currently encourage employers to provide health insurance for their workers.” They added that, “His proposal to move away from employer-based coverage was similar to one that President Bush pushed for last year, to little effect.” [New York Times4/30/08]

McCain’s Plan Would Force Patients To “Buy Health Insurance On Their Own.” McCain’s healthcare plan is an attempt to force patients to “buy health insurance on their own instead of receiving it from their employers.” [New York Times5/1/08]

McCain’s Plan “Would Seek To Lure Workers Away From Their Company Health Plans. ”While describing the health care plan proposed by John McCain, The Washington Post wrote, “McCain’s prescription would seek to lure workers away from their company health plans.” McCain would provide families with a $5,000 tax credit to purchase their own health insurance on the free market. [Washington Post4/30/08]

McCain’s Flawed Policy Is Just Like The One Bush Put Forward

McCain’s Health Care Plan Is “Similar To A Proposal Put Forth By President Bush Last Year.” While describing the health care plan proposed by John McCain, The Washington Postwrote, “Sen. John McCain on Tuesday rejected calls by his Democratic opponents for universal health coverage, instead offering a market-based solution with an approach similar to a proposal put forth by President Bush last year.” McCain also proposed health savings accounts, which were “a centerpiece of Bush’s health-care efforts.” [Washington Post4/30/08]

McCain’s “Move Away From Employer-Based Coverage” Resembles Bush’s Failed Plan.In an article outlining McCain’s health care plan, the New York Times wrote, “His proposal to move away from employer-based coverage was similar to one that President Bush pushed for last year, to little effect.” [New York Times4/30/08]

The Devil’s In The Details

McCain Would Classify Employer-Provided Insurance As Taxable Income; Would Equal A $3.6 Trillion Tax Increase. McCain’s attempt to eliminate the employer-based health care system would include classifying employer-provided insurance as taxable income. McCain’s chief economic advisor, Douglas Holtz-Eakin said that the new tax would raise an estimated$3.6 trillion in revenues. [Associated Press, 4/29/08; emphasis added]

  • Despite “No Taxes” Pledge, Admitted His Health Care Plan Would “Have The Effect” Of Increased Taxes. The New York Times wrote, “Though Senator John McCain has promised to not raise taxes, his campaign acknowledged Wednesday that the health plan he outlined this week would have the effect of increasing tax payments for some workers, primarily those with high incomes and expensive health plans.” Holtz-Eakin said that, for some, McCain’s health care plan would be unable to cover the costs associated with the elimination of the employer-based system. [New York Times5/1/08]
  • “Anyway You Cut It, If You Make Health Benefits Subject To Taxation, That’s A Tax Increase.” McCain’s campaign said his plan to tax employer-provided health coverage was consistent with his “no taxes” pledge. “Some scholars say otherwise. ‘Anyway you cut it, if you make health benefits subject to taxation, that’s a tax increase,’ said Jonathan B. Oberlander, a political scientist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. ‘You can argue with lots of merit that it’s a responsible increase, that it takes away an inequitable exclusion, but it’s still a tax increase.’” [New York Times5/1/08]
  • McCain: “I’m Sure The People That Had To Pay It, Whether They Called Them Bananas, They Still Had To Pay $730 Million Extra.” During the Republican primary battle, McCain often criticized Mitt Romney for increasing taxes while he was governor. Romney, referred to them as “fees,” but McCain insisted that it amounted to a tax increase. During a debate, McCain said, “He called them ‘fees.’ I’m sure the people that had to pay it, whether they called them bananas, they still had to pay $730 million extra.” [CNN, Republican Debate at the Reagan Library, 1/30/08]

McCain’s Plan “Could Be Problematic” For Seniors And Those With Preexisting Conditions. While reporting on McCain’s plan to force Americans to purchase their own insurance, The Wall Street Journal wrote, “That could be problematic for older people and those in poor health, who are routinely denied health insurance on the individual market, or charged very expensive premiums, because insurance companies know they will be costly to care for.” Karen Pollitz of the Georgetown University said that, “those with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, HIV, epilepsy and other more serious problems are rejected outright 99% of the time.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/30/08]

  • McCain’s Plan Could Allow Insurers To Exclude Patients With Preexisting Conditions. According to a report published by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, “Employers do not charge workers or their families different premiums based on their age, gender, health status, or health history. They also offer equal benefits and choices of plans. The individual market, however, plays by different rules. Individual insurers in most states can exclude people with pre-existing conditions directly by denying them coverage or indirectly by charging them exorbitant premiums.” [Center for American Progress Action Fund, 4/29/08]
  • People With Serious Health Problems Face Premiums That Are 43% To 50% Higher. According to a report published by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, “Compared to people in excellent health, premiums in the individual market are 43 to 50 percent higher for people with major health problems.” [Center for American Progress Action Fund, 4/29/08]

McCain’s $5,000 Credit Would Not Cover The Average Family’s Health Insurance. Many health policy experts say that McCain’s plan would not cover health insurance costs for the average American family. The Kaiser Family Foundation stated that the average cost of an employer-funded family insurance plan is $12,106, far more than McCain’s proposed $5,000 tax credit. The New York Times quoted Paul B. Ginsburg from the Center for Studying Health System Change as saying, “For a lot of people, the tax credits he’s talking about would not be enough to afford coverage.” [New York Times4/30/08]

McCain’s Plan Could Force Middle-Income Workers To Pay More For Health Coverage. In an article analyzing McCain’s health care plan, the New York Times noted that, “analysts point out that middle-income workers with conventional coverage could conceivably pay more in regions where insurance costs are high. Over time, that might depend on how the tax credits are adjusted for inflation, a detail Mr. McCain has not discussed.” [New York Times5/1/08]

McCain’s Deregulation Plan Could Result In Insurance Companies Offering Fewer Patient Services. According to the New York Times, “McCain also wants to let people buy insurance from companies in other states, so they could shop for cheaper plans. That could lead some insurers to relocate from highly regulated states to states that would allow them to cover fewer services.” [New York Times4/30/08]

McCain’s Plan Won’t “Make A Dent In The Number Of Uninsured Americans.” While describing McCain’s attempt to end the employer-based health care system, The Wall Street Journal wrote, “The plan isn’t expected to make a major dent in the number of uninsured Americans, and questions remain about how the plan would help older, sicker people who can’t find insurance on the open market.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/30/08]

McCain Does Opposes Measures To Prohibit Insurance Company Discrimination.Regarding health care, “guaranteed issue” is the forbidding of insurance companies from denying any person from coverage. According to the Washington Times, “John McCain opposes guaranteed issue, [leading] to criticism that he doesn’t address the problem of the uninsurable.” [Washington Times, 6/16/08]

McCain’s Tax Credit Would Not Adequately Cover Families’ Health Care Costs

McCain Plan Includes Mere $5,000 Tax Credit For Families’ Health Care. USA Today reported that Senator John McCain proposed “a variety of health policy ideas, including tax credits to encourage people to buy private insurance. The credits would be $2,500 annually for individuals and $5,000 for families.” [USA Today4/29/08]

  • McCain Credit Would Not Cover Americans’ Coverage Needs. According to Knight Ridder, “Kenneth Thorpe, a noted health economist, [said] two-thirds of uninsured Americans would require higher tax credits to pay for family coverage…which averages $12,000 a year…$4,500 for individuals.” [Knight Ridder Washington Bureau, 6/10/08]

McCain Has Enjoyed Government Health Care His Entire Life

McCain Has Been Covered By Government Health Insurance His Entire Life. ABC Newsreported that “[Elizabeth] Edwards has recently lodged a variety of criticisms against the Republican nominee John McCain for not offering universal healthcare. ‘He has not spent a single day not protected by a federal health plan, not a single day of his entire life, and yet he denigrates this care,’ said Edwards in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.” [ABC News4/21/08]

  • McCain: Only Time I Didn’t Have Government Health Care Was As A POW.ABC News reported, “Appearing yesterday on ABC News’ ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos,’ McCain called Edwards’ comment a ‘cheap shot.’ ‘It’s a cheap shot, but I did have a period of time where I didn’t have very good government health care,’ said McCain.” [ABC News4/21/08]

Government Health Care Has Kept McCain Healthy Enough To Run For President. TheAmerican Prospect pointed out that McCain speaks “like a 71-year-old whose government health coverage has kept him healthy enough to run for the presidency.” [American Prospect4/30/08]

McCain’s Health Care Plan Would Benefit Insurance Companies

McCain Plan Would Allow Insurance Companies To Operate With Few Regulations. The Center for American Progress Action Fund published a study that found “Individual insurers in most states can exclude people with pre-existing conditions directly by denying them coverage or indirectly by charging them exorbitant premiums. This could be remedied with stronger rules for insurers—but the McCain plan moves in the opposite direction. It would allow insurers to play by the rules in any state—including the one that has the least protection for people with chronic diseases.” [Center for American Progress Action Fund,4/29/08, emphasis added]

McCain’s Health Care Plan Would Allow Insurance Companies To More Easily Reject High Risk Patients: The Elderly, Sick Children And Those With Chronic Illnesses.According to a study by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, “The health plan proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) would, by design, replace employer-based health insurance with individual-market insurance—a concern for people with chronic disease. Employers do not charge workers or their families different premiums based on their age, gender, health status, or health history. They also offer equal benefits and choices of plans. The individual market, however, plays by different rules. Individual insurers in most states can exclude people with pre-existing conditions directly by denying them coverage or indirectly by charging them exorbitant premiums.” [Center for American Progress Action Fund, 4/29/08]

  • McCain’s Answer: Chronic Conditions Avoidable With Diet And Exercise.During a speech at the University of South Florida, John McCain said, “Chronic conditions — such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and asthma — account for three-quarters of the nation’s annual health-care bill. In so many cases this suffering could be averted by early testing and screening, as in the case of colon and breast cancers. Diabetes and heart disease rates are also increasing today with rise of obesity in the United States.” McCain went on to suggest, “Watch your diet, walk thirty or so minutes a day, and take a few other simple precautions, and you won’t have to worry about these afflictions. But many of us never quite get around to it, and the wake-up call doesn’t come until the ambulance arrives or we’re facing a tough diagnosis.” [Prepared Remarks On Health Care via JohnMcCain.com, accessed 9/13/08, emphasis added; Video link]
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