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April 30, 2008

The McCain Healthcare Plan: The “I’ve Got Mine!” Corporate Bonanza!

Posted in: 2008 Election,Health care,John McCain

Talk about your Double-Talk Express. As scarecrow said, John McCain unveiled his "health care plan" for the masses. Well…the health care plan for masses o’ profits for the insurance industry, anyway.

I was on a conference call yesterday with Roger Hickey, co-director at Campaign for America’s Future; Jacob Hacker, author of "The Great Risk Shift" and professor at Yale University; and Karen Ackerman, political director for AFL-CIO. Roger sums the McCain plan up here:

He wants voters to think he is going after health care cost inflation. In reality, he wants to dismantle the employer-provided system that now covers over 60 percent (or about 158 million) of non-elderly Americans….And he would drive health care costs upward, not downward.

This is truly amazing: McCain and his handlers…turned to their friends (and financial supporters) in the health care industry and the conservative think tanks. And they have adopted the most extreme right-wing ideological approach, premised on the idea that the big problem in health care is that Americans have too much insurance – in their words, we don’t have enough “skin in the game” – and that only when we have to buy health care with money that comes directly out of our own pockets will consumers force doctors, hospitals and insurance companies to become more efficient.

But…[m]ost of us already pay part of our premiums out of our own pockets, and we increasingly have to shell out for co-pays in order to get to see a doctor….

And get this: McCain wants to abolish the regulations that currently exist in most states that require companies to insure people with pre-existing conditions, provide benefits that don’t exclude some medical conditions, and prevent them from charging huge premiums for crumby benefits….

Best line on the call came from Jacob Hacker, who said McCain’s plan is "free market theology substituting as a plan." So, pre-existing condition? Well, screw you! No insurance? Not McCain’s problem!

As Jonathan Cohn has pointed out, McCain doesn’t allow you to pay for your insurance premiums with pre-tax dollars any longer either, because you’d be getting your insurance individually rather than through a work-negotiated group plan: which means higher rates — since you lose your group risk-sharing and negotiation leverage — paid with more money out-of-pocket because it’s post-tax.

Nothing says bilking the little guy like a big, ole squeeze.

Who’s squeezing? Watch the YouTube from ProgressiveMedia, and see the hypocrisy popping up all over McCain’s "plans." (Extra points for playing spot the lobbyist interest!)

Somehow a health care plan that can be summarized as an "I’ve Got Mine!" corporate bonanza isn’t exactly a solution — unless, of course, you are a big supporter of social Darwinism or married to a sugar-momma heiress and completely out of touch with how real people have to scrape by or something. Oh…wait…

PS — Lurita Doan, hapless head of the GSA, has finally been fired, it seems.  But she isn’t going quietly.  Do you think a sympathy cookie bouquet is too much to ask?



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