Presidential Candidates’ Health Plans Mean Change For The Healthcare System
MANASQUAN, NJ -- October 30,
2008: With the
election rapidly approaching, the health plans put forth by Sen Barack
Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) could change the
healthcare system in ways that cannot be measured at this time.
Yet, most agree that the proposals will take a backseat to solving the economic crisis facing the country.
McCain and Obama offer completely different approaches to healthcare for the future.
McCain’s plan would be a radical departure from the way the healthcare is managed.
McCain believes that empowerng the individual is the key
to solving the nation’s healthcare deilemma. He wants to move
from the employer-based system to one based on the individual.
McCain would eliminate the tax exclusion for employers
who pay health benefits and treat the benefits as taxable income for
employees. To offset the taxes, he would grant tax credits to employees
– $2.500 for the individual and $5,000 for families – so
they could either pay for employer premiums or go onto the open market
and purchase their own policies.
Experts believe this will lead to more enrollments in consumer-directed health plans.
Also complicating the issue is the tax credit itself
considering family coverage now costs $12,680, according to the Kaiser
But there are other fears that employers, by losing the
tax exclusion, would drop offering health insurance to employees
He also would make other changes including allowing indivuals to purchase insurance across statelines to seek better bargains.
University of Michigan Professor Thomas Buchmueller and
co-authors in an article in Health Affairs claim that McCain would
strip consumers of protections while producing few actual gains in the
number of Americans with health coverage.
While the McCain plan advocates less government involvement in healthcare issues, Obama wants more.
The Obama plan could be considered an expanded version of the system currently in operation in Massachusetts.
Obama wants employers to continue to offer subatantial health benefits or pay into the cost of a public plan he proposes.
That plan, the National Health Plan, will be one of the plans offered through his Health Insurance Exchange.
In the exchange there would be a choice of plans, including the publically funded plan.
While there are differences in the plans, all experts agree both will be expensive.
According to the Tax Policy Center, McCain’s plan
would cost $1.3 trillion over 10 years while Obama’s plan would
cost $1.6 trillion over the same period.
With the country in the midst of a severe economic crisis and the
governmnt having pledged $700 billion to bail out banks and other
financial institutions most experts agree that, no matter who is the
winner of the election, healthcare will take a backseat until the
economic dust settles.
Managed Care Information Center, 1913 Atlantic Ave., Suite
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