Tuesday, September 16, 2008

McCain Health Plan Again

Just an added note: the online chatter about health care has been fueled by Health Affairs (a nonpartisan journal) analysis of the candidates' plans. While the full text of the article is here, this is the conclusion the authors reach about the McCain plan (emphases mine):

Achieving Senator McCain's vision would radically transform the U.S. health insurance system. His plan would alter the nature, source, and financing of coverage for the nearly 160 million Americans who now receive health insurance through their employers. We estimate that twenty million Americans--about one in every eight people with job-based coverage--would lose their current coverage as a result of the change in the tax treatment of coverage. Initially, this loss of job-based coverage would be offset by an increase in coverage in the nongroup market (although not necessarily for the same individuals). Within five years, however, the net effect of the plan is expected to be a net reduction in coverage relative to what would have been observed if the tax treatment of employer-sponsored coverage remains as it is now. The decline of job-based coverage would force millions of Americans into the weakest segment of the private insurance system--the nongroup market--where cost sharing is high and covered services are limited. Senator McCain's proposal to deregulate this market would mean that people in it would lose protections they now have. These changes would diminish the security of coverage for most Americans, especially those who are not--or someday will not be--in perfect health.

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