Sen. John McCain met with the Des Moines Register’s editorial board this week and had this to say about health care. A Register editorial board writer asked whether he had always been covered, in his adult life, by taxpayer-funded health coverage, whether as a veteran, Congressman or senior over 65.
“You know that’s an interesting statement, isn’t it? Um, so, and I have never been an astronaut, but I think I know the challenges of space. And I have never done a lot of things in my life that I think I am familiar with. I’ve always been a free enterprise person who thinks that families make the best choices for themselves and their future. That’s a dramatically different philosophy than my Democrat friends, in my view. who think that government is the answer. Sen. Obama wants to create a huge health care bureaucracy for America. We’ve seen that movie before. So the answer is that most of my life, in serving my country I have had health care. I did go a period of time where the health care wasn’t very good.”
I take particular umbrage to this part: “I’ve always been a free enterprise person who thinks that families make the best choices for themselves and their future.”
McCain’s health care plan would provide refundable tax credits for individuals or families to buy insurance, but also count as income what a family’s employer pays for their insurance. Taxing what employers pay for health insurance would actively discourage health insurance through work.
Job-based insurance is an important part of our current system, extending coverage to 61% of Americans. Job-based coverage allows workers to join an insurance pool, which is their employer. Employers can leverage lower rates, unlike a person out on their own in the insurance market.
In the individual insurance market — which is where Americans will be forced to hunt for coverage if their employer shirks that duty — consumers choices will be:
- expensive comprehensive coverage
- slightly less expensive coverage that leaves my family exposed should anything happen
- nothing at all.
That’s not a real choice. Especially in the world of insurance where anything goes — where not everyone can be assured that they’d be able to get coverage, somehow, or that the coverage is actually meaningful (like covering doctors visits, prescription drugs, hospital visits, cancer screenings — basic health care.)
Hasn’t this economic meltdown taught him anything?