Benny's World

Sunday, April 20, 2008

McSame Says Elizabeth Edwards Lobbed a Cheap Shot

This morning, I watched This Week as John McCain was being interviewed. It was clear many times that McCain was very uncomfortable with Georgie's questions, most of which were legitimate about McCain's policies and agenda. He squirmed in his chair, dogged most of the answers. In particular, the one about health care seemed to have gotten his hackles up when Elizabeth Edwards' criticism was replayed. Here's the link to the clip:

It's about 13 minutes into the program.

Quick synopsis from The Hill, if you wish to skip watching the video:

Stephanopoulos, noting Edwards’ recent comments about McCain in The Wall Street Journal, said, “Her point is why shouldn’t every American be able to get the kind of healthcare that members of Congress get and members of the military get?”

A smiling McCain said, “It’s a cheap shot but I did have a period of time where I didn’t have very good healthcare, I had it from another government. Look, I know what it’s like not to have healthcare.” McCain was referring to the five-and-a-half years he spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

OK, McCain, maybe you haven't had it ever single day of your life, but you have since you got back from Vietnam.

Health Policy and Market blog has some good details that Georgie didn't ask McSame about today:

McCain would end the current personal income exemption for employer provided health insurance and replace it with an individual tax credit for those who have health insurance. But there are tens of millions who are not covered today and do not have access to an employer contribution for health insurance and therefore don't have a personal exemption that can be reshuffled into a personal tax credit.

But here's the problem:

There are tens of millions who are not covered today and do not have access to an employer contribution for health insurance and therefore don't have a personal exemption that can be reshuffled into a personal tax credit. But what will the source of his funding be for those who today don't have the benefit of the employer exemption but would be eligible for the tax credits?Moving the tax benefit of health insurance from the workplace to the individual as McCain does will likely encourage employers to drop their health programs and instead just give the health benefit contribution they were making to the worker in the form of wages.

McCain went on in the to say that "with all due respect to Mrs. Edwards," the Democrats want the government to make our health care decisions. He says families need to make their own health decisions. Arrogantly, he said, "well, the $5000K tax credit my plan would give families may not be enough, but it's better than what they got now. They can go across state lines and get cheaper insurance.

McCain doesn't get it. Here's the problem with that, and Elizabeth is correct about this:

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?

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?

McCain also said the problem with government run health care was that it was inferior to us. "Go to Canada. Go to England. " Yet, on a Frontline show this past week, an investigation turned up that their health care is as good as ours. Our problem is that we overpay because of the overhead costs. Medicare administration cost is 3%.

McCain knows he gets better care through the government and it is cheaper. Yet the American people aren't allowed to have coverage as he does.

That's a cheap shot to our American people, Mr. Cain McCain.

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