Comparing the Candidates Health Care Proposals

Eileen Bailey Health Guide

    Health care reform is shaping up to be one of the most important issues of this year's election. Health care impacts every American and right now the cost of health care has skyrocketed, insurance premiums are rising and the benefits of health policies are decreasing.


    Both John McCain and Barack Obama have put forth health insurance reform proposals. Both plans have pros and cons and both encourage more preventive care, work to increase the use of technology in medical record keeping and have additional measures to help contain the cost of health care.


    But both plans are also immensely different. I have prepared outlines of both proposals, along with providing pros and cons of each, as noted by analysts. You can read the outlines of each:

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    John McCain's Proposal

    Barack Obama's Proposal


    Some of the main differences in the two plans:


    John McCain's plan runs on the premise that the free market will help to regulate the costs of health care. His plan proposes to change the current structure of employer-based insurance to one of individual policies. His plan eliminates the tax benefit for companies paying for insurance premiums for their employees. Instead, his plan provides an annual tax credit of $2500 for individuals and $5000 for families to offset the cost of their health insurance premiums. In addition, if a company pays premiums, this would now be considered income and be taxable.


    Barack Obama's plan runs on the premise that the government should help to make sure each American has access to medical insurance and therefore to health care. He proposes a system that incorporates both free market and government assistance. Group employer insurance would still be encouraged and companies would still receive tax benefits for providing insurance. A national clearinghouse of participating insurance companies would be available for anyone wanting to purchase private insurance. These companies would agree to accept everyone who applies, regardless of prior health history. A national health plan would be available for people who are not eligible for group or subsidized insurance plans, with a sliding scale premium for those that cannot afford premiums. Traditional private insurance would also be available.


    Under John McCain's plan, people with prior health histories, not eligible for private health insurance for past illnesses, would have a harder time finding insurance. He proposes to work with the states to develop a program where they could find insurance.


    Under Barack Obama's plan, both the national plan and companies participating in the national clearinghouse of insurers must accept prior health conditions.


    Group health insurance currently accepts people with pre-existing conditions.


    The cost of Barack Obama's plan would be higher initially, however, one analyst indicated both proposals would cost approximately the same after a ten-year period. The difference would be that the under Barack Obama's plan, the number of uninsured in this country would go down by 18 million in the first year, under John McCain's, it would decrease by 1 million.


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    What do you think?


Published On: September 07, 2008