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Bread and Circus's Journal
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John McCain's Health Plan - Don't Get Sick in America

...snip...

The most extensive assessment of McCain's record has been compiled by the AFL-CIO which warns that his plan "undermines existing employer-based health care and pushes workers into the private market to fight big insurance companies on their own. It will reduce benefits, increase costs and leave many with no health care at all."

How does it do all that?

First, the small tax credit he proposes is insufficient to cover the current or future cost of premiums. Individuals will bear a greater burden for their health care costs, encouraging more to face financial distress while also worrying about their job, mortgage or rent, or they will self-ration needed care.

Second, McCain wants to promote the selling of insurance policies "across state lines," code talk for deregulating existing protections that a number of states have established to set some minimum standards in quality and benefits. The inevitable consequence would be to undermine current standards and reduce quality coverage and public protections. Deregulation, of course, is always about the third word out of the mouths of Republicans and their neo-liberal Democratic counterparts.

Third, McCain says he wants to "eliminate the bias" towards employer-sponsored health benefits, by cutting tax advantages employers receive for offering coverage. It's not hard to guess where this will lead -- a tsunami of employers dropping their health coverage and pushing their employees into the private market to fend for themselves.

Fourth, his advocacy of health savings accounts, a boondoggle created by Bush that primarily benefits wealthier and healthier people and, of course, the banks and other financial institutions. By siphoning off that population, HSAs deplete funds for other insurance risk pools which then have a higher concentration of sicker and lower income people, yet more encouragement for those insurers to further jack up their charges pricing more people out of access to care.

Finally, nothing in McCain's approach stops the disgraceful abuses intrinsic to the insurance-based system, including the routine denials of needed medical care and refusal to assure coverage to people who are sick or have pre-existing conditions. The insurance companies will continue to make out like bandits while the fraying of the social safety net grows and ever more people are abandoned.

To sum it all up, the McCain campaign could just as well use these simple marketing slogans for their plan: Don't Get Sick in America, or You're On Your Own.

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