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Monday, October 6, 2008

McCain Health Care Plan Terrifying

Regular readers know I believe firmly that universal single-payer not-for-profit health care is the way to go. Kucinich-Care, Canada-Care, Euro-Health, socialized medicine—call it what you will, it saves money and saves lives. If socialized medicine is good enough for Grandma and Grandpa (Medicare), South Dakota's kids (free flu shots), and every other industrialized country, why not do it for all Americans?

Neither Obama's nor McCain's health care plan offers anything close to that. But Paul Krugman's explanation in the New York Times (the paper that's "hardly ever wrong") makes me think even the status quo would be better than McCain's disastrous health care proposal. Krugman says that as McCain moves people out of group coverage (what you get from your employer) to individual coverage (what you buy on your own), he would also "deregulate insurance, leaving insurance companies free to deny coverage to those with health problems." Young healthy people would find it easier to get insurance, but the people who really need health insurance (low-income folks and folks with health problems) would find it even harder.

To add insult to injury, McCain's plan also increases waste: Krugman notes that individual plans have much higher administrative overhead, 29%. Group plans, the kind McCain would discourage, have 12% administrative costs. Medicare, America's own socialized medicine for old folks, manages overhead of 3%.

Spend more, get less. Brilliant. Concludes Krugman:

In short, the McCain plan makes no sense at all, unless you have faith that the magic of the marketplace can solve all problems. And Mr. McCain does: a much-quoted article published under his name declares that "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."

I agree: the McCain plan would do for health care what deregulation has done for banking. And I’m terrified.

[Paul Krugman, "Health Care Destruction," New York Times, 2008.10.05]

The physician's first rule is "Do no harm." John McCain can't even get that much right.

For this election, I'm not even asking for socialized medicine. I'm just asking you not to let McCain make our health insurance system even worse.

1 comment:

  1. It's academic. Congress would never let McCain implement his plan.

    I agree with you on this one, Cory. "Kucinich care" is the way to go.

    Some of us will relate to an old saw: "Half measures will avail us nothing."


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