Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Healthcare a Sleeper Issue?

In the VP debate Palin raved about McCain’s healthcare plan, which Biden quickly labeled “a real bridge to nowhere,” leaving me to wonder how familiar people were with McCain’s Republican “market-based” solution to the cynical boondoggle that is our healthcare delivery system.

I think that it is safe to say that no American family has been untouched by this unjust and irrational system that at three trillion dollars a year, costs us more per capita than any developed country on earth, while leaving nearly fifty million citizens without coverage. These uninsured people, most from working families, find medical care unavailable or unaffordable, resulting in less than positive outcomes, such as death and bankruptcy.

It seems obvious that the 30% the insurance industry spends on administration (that is, denying claims,) should be able to buy universal coverage. The Medicare system administrative costs run 3%. I favor a single-payer plan such as that offered by Dennis Kucinich, which stops just short of the death penalty for PHARMA and the HMOs. More attainable was John Edwards’ hybrid plan, which while preserving private insurance, would over time attract a migration of consumers to a single payer plan. These candidates didn’t survive the nomination process. Senator Obama has, as a centrist candidate, offered a less ambitious plan with the laudable goal of universal coverage for children. If we elect him and equip him with the coattails to bring along working majorities in the Congress, we might see a more comprehensive solution.

But McCain calls for a $2,500 individual or $5,000 family tax credit with which to buy private health insurance. At the same time, he would strip away the business tax deduction that employers get in exchange for providing health insurance to their employees. In Paul Krugman’s column this week, he cites nonpartisan studies that estimate that under McCain’s plan 20 million Americans would lose their employer provided health insurance, leaving them with their $5,000 credit to shop for a family policy that now averages over $12,000 a year.

Krugman wraps up his column with a quote from an article that McCain published just last month:

“Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.”

So there you have it folks. Who in their right mind would vote for that?


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