Benny's World

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Elizabeth Edwards Offers Straight Talk for John McCain's Health Care Plan

Elizabeth was the guest blogger at Think Progress today. Here's what she had to say about John McCain's health care plan, and it's a continuation from last weekend's speech to the Association of Health Care Journalists. McSame's policy advisor thought she was "confused" about his health care plan.

I freely admit that I am confused about the role of overnight funding in repurchase markets in the collapse of Bear Stearns. What I am not confused about is John McCain’s health care proposal. Apparently Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a senior policy advisor to McCain, thinks I do “not understand the comprehensive nature of the senator’s proposal.” The problem, Douglas, is that, despite fuzzy language and feel-good lines in the Senator’s proposal, I do understand exactly how devastating it will be to people who have the health conditions with which the Senator and I are confronted (melanoma for him, breast cancer for me) but do not have the financial resources we have. In very unconfusing language: they are left outside the clinic doors.

Elizabeth offers some blistering questions for McCain to answer:

1. Under your plan, Senator McCain, would any health insurer be required to sell you or me (or those like us with pre-existing conditions) a health insurance policy?

2. You say your plan is going to increase competition to the point that it actually lowers costs. Isn’t there competition today among insurance companies? Haven’t costs continued to go up despite that competition?

Amen Elizabeth. But she keeps peppering her post with other questions:

3. You say that under your plan everyone is going to pay less for health insurance. Nice words, I admit, but they are words we have heard before. You must know when American families calculate the actual cost of health care, they have to include those deductibles and co-pays and not just the cost of the insurance. Are you talking about cheaper overall or just a cheap policy that doesn’t kick in until after thousands of dollars of deductibles have been paid?

4. Isn’t the type of competition you are talking about really a rush to the bottom? As long as you allow insurers to underwrite and deny access, you encourage insurers to offer plans that may be cheap, but that get that way by avoiding people with cancer or other high-cost diseases or by limiting benefits and treatments, particularly if the treatment is expensive or might be needed for a long time. We all live in the real world; those of us lucky enough to have health insurance have seen how insurers cut coverage and up co-pays or deny particular treatments. The insurance company makes money when it doesn’t have to pay for our health care. (I suspect that if they could, they would write obstetrical-only policies for nuns.) Doesn’t your plan really encourage insurers plans to compete to avoid people with cancer or other high-cost diseases? Don’t you think that the kind of competition that starts with a decent level of required coverage, that doesn’t exclude the care we actually need, would be better?

After reading this, do you think she was confused?

Doesn't Elizabeth have an insight that the country could understand and get behind?

Why aren't the other candidates doing this?

This should have been our First Lady. Thank you EE for speaking up for all of us, as usual.

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  • I'm really amazed by the number of people who do have pre-existing conditions that make it imossible for them to buy health care. I have one friend who has had foot surgery two or three times but never went out of work for it, yet he was uninsurable.

    By Blogger Chancelucky, at 7:42 AM  

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