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John McCain’s Healthcare Plan on Health System Reform Is Much Worse Than Barack Obama’s Healthcare Plan. Part 1

Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE

John McCain does not have a healthcare plan to improve the healthcare system. His goal is to eliminate the healthcare entitlement provided by the government for seniors and Corporate America for its employees.

In my view he is not focused on the basic problems with the healthcare system. John McCain is going to leave the control of the healthcare system in the hands of the healthcare insurance industry. He is not going to empower patients to drive the healthcare system by providing appropriate information, education and incentives.

John McCain’s healthcare plan is worse than Barack Obama’s because it is simplistic thinking. He makes the appropriate pronouncements as slogans. However, he simply strengthens the hand of Corporate America and the healthcare insurance industry to the disadvantage of present and future patients. In a search of his healthcare plan for improvement in the healthcare system none exists.

His healthcare plan starts with:

 “A Call to Action”

John McCain believes we can and must provide access to health care for every American. He has proposed a comprehensive vision for achieving that. For too long, our nation’s leaders have talked about reforming health care. Now is the time to act.”

He is saying nothing but the obvious. One can assume he is for universal healthcare when he says “we can and must provide access to health care for every American.” It is important to review his actual words. One then realizes the words lack substance or strategy.

Americans Are Worried About Health Care Costs. The problems with health care are well known: it is too expensive and 47 million people living in the United States lack health insurance.”

John McCain does not list the problems with the healthcare system. He declares that they are well known. He avoids stating the basic problems or the reasons for the basic problems. Why is it too expensive? Why are so many people uninsured?
John McCain’s Vision for Health Care Reform

McCain Believes The Key To Health Care Reform Is To Restore Control To The Patients Themselves. We want a system of health care in which everyone can afford and acquire the treatment and preventative care they need. Health care should be available to all and not limited by where you work or how much you make. Families should be in charge of their health care dollars and have more control over care. John McCain Will Reform The Tax Code To Offer More Choices Beyond Employer-Based Health Insurance Coverage. While still having the option of employer-based coverage, every family will receive a direct refundable tax credit – effectively cash – of $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families to offset the cost of insurance.

I certainly believe that patients should have control of their healthcare dollar. A tax credit of $2500 for low or middle income individuals is not enough to help pay a $6,000 a year healthcare policy. The $5000 tax credit will not help a low income family pay for a $12,000 healthcare policy. What about people at the poverty level or just above the poverty level? How it a tax credit going to help them? How does this solve the abuses of the healthcare insurance industry? Can Moises with $22,000 income afford a $12,000 a year healthcare policy? The answer is obviously no!

Meanwhile the Republican administration (Bush)is methodically destroying America’s safety net hospitals. The Republican administration is not funding these critically important county hospitals. The lack funding will not result in an increase in these hospitals efficiency. It will leading to a lack of modernization of safety net hospitals and an inability to provide adequate healthcare to the underprivileged and uninsured.


Making Health Insurance Innovative, Portable and Affordable

John McCain Will Reform Health Care Making It Easier For Individuals And Families To Obtain Insurance.

How is he going to make it easier to obtain affordable insurance without government intervention? There is no plan or ideas published in his plan. It is just a slogan without a plan to help the middle class and lower class workers obtain healthcare coverage.

“An important part of his plan is to use competition to improve the quality of health insurance with greater variety to match people’s needs, lower prices, and portability. Families should be able to purchase health insurance nationwide, across state lines.”

I have changed my mind about consumers being able to by insurance across state lines. It would be good to increase competition among insurance companies. It might force them to lower premium prices and make less profit. It would be bad for the patients because patients would not have a mechanism to stop healthcare insurance company’s abuse of the healthcare system.

Each state is responsible for which companies they issue permits to sell healthcare insurance. Theoretically the individual states have control of the quality of healthcare insurance product sold in their state. Many State Insurance Boards have not functioned exactly how they were intended to function. This has lead to healthcare insurance abuse that has been slow to discover. Once discovered the legal process is tedious. Some State Boards have imposed penalties so weak they have not acted as deterrents to further abuse.

We need leadership to make State Insurance Boards stronger and not federal legislation that will make the State Insurance Boards less powerful. The healthcare insurance industry has not proven itself to be benevolent.

Families will be able to choose the insurance provider that suits them best and the money would be sent directly to the insurance provider. Those obtaining innovative insurance that costs less than the credit can deposit the remainder in expanded Health Savings Accounts.”

If the insurance plans are underinsuring people at high rates now, how is John McCain going to decrease cost of healthcare insurance with this proposal? There is nothing in his healthcare plan to control the healthcare insurance industry’s premium rates.

John McCain Proposes Making Insurance More Portable. Americans need insurance that follows them from job to job. They want insurance that is still there if they retire early and does not change if they take a few years off to raise the kids.

If there are multiple plans available and a new employer does not provide a healthcare plan as good as the person’s previous healthcare plan that is going to pay for the premium for the previous plan?

There it is! John McCain’s goal is to get the employer out of the healthcare insurance plan provider business. He wants to place the responsibility of paying the premium for healthcare insurance in t
he consumers’ hands. The goal is to protect the employer and not the employee (patients). The goal of John McCain’s non existent healthcare plan is not to put the Patient First but to put Corporate America first.

John McCain should devise a plan that gives employees an incentive to take care of themselves and not an excuse for employers to avoid responsibility for their employees. I believe employees should own the first $6,000 of his healthcare plan and should have first dollar healthcare insurance coverage after that $6,000 is spent. If employees keep the portion of the first $6,000 they do not spend they will have incentive to use their healthcare dollar wisely. John McCain’s non healthcare plan is corporate America friendly and not patient friendly.

John McCain does not have a plan to limit the healthcare insurance industry’s profit, increase efficiency or contain abuse of the healthcare system. He might care but he does not get it.

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

  • bozena

    I agree. I work in a large University hospitals in NY
    and I see pts with no insurance occupying 5,000 a day NESICU beds, and the hospital ends up absorbing all the costs.

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