I missed this story yesterday, but the Wall Street Journal reported that we’ve got it all wrong — McCain’s plan wouldn’t tax the health care benefits we get from our jobs. Wouldn’t think about it! And in fact, Obama is lying about it!
(By the way: McCain didn’t seem to contest the idea that he was taxing employer-sponsored coverage when it was brought up by others, such as the Commonwealth Fund in their January 2008 analysis, this story in the New York Times from May 2008, or this description of his plan from his own website from February 2008, (which I handily printed out at the time, made into a pdf and highlighted for relevant comparisons). I noticed on his current website, he actually uses slightly different phraseology so he doesn’t mention the ‘bias toward employer-sponsored health insurance’ that he previously references.)
Here’s a quick summary:
McCain’s health care plan is based on the idea that individuals should have more “choices” when choosing their health insurance, so he gives everyone a $2,500 tax credit ($5,000 for families). That way, people can “choose” which plans work best, thus “fostering competition and innovation.” But analyses have revealed that the tax credits would cost $3.6 billion, after he claimed it wouldn’t cost the government anything at all (leading many to surmise that the money came from the tax he would impose on employer-sponsored coverage). Forward to this past week, when Obama has begun hitting hard with ads like this against McCain’s health plan, and that makes him really mad. So that’s what leads to his policy director saying McCain would not tax the middle class. Instead — McCain’s campaign says it wants to target and reduce Medicare (and the 41 million seniors on it) and Medicaid (with its 60 million enrollees).
Is that supposed to make it better?
So basically, rather than tax middle-class Americans — we’re weakening the system that the parents of working middle class Americans rely on? On top of that, we’re weakening the safety net that millions of children, disabled, seniors also rely on.