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McCain’s Health Care Plan

The Washington Post outlines some of the details of John McCain’s health plan. If I’m understanding it right, the key points are:

  1.  Unlike the Democratic plan, his plan is market-based
  2. It dissociates health insurance from the workplace, which McCain argues will force insurance companies to “no longer take your business for granted, offering narrow plans with escalating costs.”
  3. It provides tax credits to individuals, rather than employers, for health insurance.
  4. It will create a “GAP” (guaranteed access program) in the short-term to provide for “high-risk” patients until the “market matures”.
  5. Lowering costs through a variety of methods such as tort reform and encouraging the prescription of generic drugs.
  6. McCain also advocates the “health savings account” idea.
  7. Interestingly, he also says “[g]overnment should promote greater access through walk-in clinics in retail outlets” to facilitate easier access to basic, preventative care.

As the Post notes, a lot of the McCain plan echoes President Bush’s spectacularly failed attempt at health care reform. Indeed, McCain is probably going to have a relatively difficult time selling his health care plan, whatever its merits, since he’s going to have to compete against either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, both of which are promising “free” health care for the masses. For McCain to succeed on this issue against his opponent (especially if he runs against Barack Obama), he’s going to have to find a simple, sensible way to explain to people how setting them adrift and trusting market forces is going to result in better health care at a lower cost than anything a massive, tax-funded government bureaucracy¬† can hope to provide.

Unfortunately for McCain, explaining economics to people is a lot more difficult than saying “the government will take care of you”.

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