John McCain’s Healthcare Plan

There’s been a lot of coverage in the liberal press and blogs today about the McCain healthcare plan. Basically, the gist of it is that he wants to make the value of your health benefit that you get from your job taxable as income. If you don’t like that, well then you can go and get individual coverage, and you’ll get a tax credit.

The point is obviously that he wants us to not be getting insurance through our employers. His theory is that this will lead to more competition and we’ll end up getting better coverage for less money.

I think it sounds like bull.

If you’ve ever tried to get individual insurance or lost your job and tried to go on COBRA, you know this. In order to get comparable coverage, you’ll end up paying a lot more. That of course is assuming that you’re healthy and could get individual coverage. If you’re not of perfect health, and you are forced to stay with your employer’s insurance, well good luck with that. Businesses are likely to drop the benefit when their group rates would go up when the healthier people leave the plans.

But don’t listen to me. Listen to these very smart folks from Columbia, Harvard, Purdue and Michigan

For a typical family that moves from group to individual coverage, therefore, the move to nongroup insurance will raise premiums for an identical policy by more than $2,000 per year. Shifting people into the nongroup market would not save money for most Americans. Rather, it would lead to increased spending on administrative costs and a decrease in the portion of health spending that actually goes to providing care.

Or you can find a boiled down version from Bob Herbert (once again, my hero).

Or if you’re really, really lazy – I’ll just tell you that they say that what they’re saying is that immediately it will not increase the number of insured people (boo) and that the end result will be that health insurance will cost more. It would also undo all the minimums and regulations set by individual states. So much for states’ rights.


I learned about this from reading the following: Feministe, Shapely Prose, Feministing, and The American Prospect.

If this guy gets elected and gets this passed, we’re totally screwed.