Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Whose Health Care Plan is Better for America - Obama's or McCain's?

Recently, Roger Feldman and his team at HSI Network, LLC released a third-party assessment of John McCain's Health Reform Proposal similar to the one done for the Obama Health Reform Plan in August, 2008. Both studies are available at www.hsinetwork.com Please find highlights below:

Highlights of the McCain Health Care Plan:

"Greater Reduction In The Uninsured: The McCain Plan would provide health insurance coverage to 27.5 million uninsured Americans, more than half of the 47 million uninsured. McCain's plan covers TWO million more uninsured Americans than the Obama plan.

Lower Health Insurance Costs For Americans: The analysis found that Americans in every major income bracket will have, on average, "a reduction in their health insurance costs resulting from the tax credit proposal." In contrast, a corresponding analysis found that Barack Obama's plan would force people to pay more for their health care by increasing mandates on existing insurance. While the McCain plan would lower costs, the Obama plan would increase make health care costs go up even more.

Lower And Middle-Class Americans See The Greatest Benefit: In terms of income, the most dramatic increase in the percentage of Americans with health insurance would be for those with income below the 50th percentile of wage income. More than 25 million additional workers in this income range, more than a three-fold increase, would now receive health care under the McCain plan.

Dramatic Increase In Coverage For Vulnerable Americans: According to the report, the combination of the new tax credit for health care and the Guaranteed Access Plan (GAP) would help vulnerable populations (defined as those below the 25th percentile of wage income and having a chronic illness) see a five-fold increase in health insurance coverage.

Preserving And Improving Private Health Insurance: The analysis found that John McCain's plan will "preserve the private health insurance system." McCain's plan will also change the current incentives in the health care system that "lock people into jobs that provide health insurance" and "provide the greatest rewards for wealthy taxpayers." Millions of American families with employer sponsored coverage in all tax brackets with the same coverage as a "Members of Congress" will now come out ahead with additional funds going into a portable health savings account. Importantly, younger and healthier employees with the McCain health care tax credit will have a bigger incentive to stay with the employers. For example, a 25-year-old employee in the 25 percent tax bracket with a $2,500 tax credit could either purchase a policy in the individual market for the same amount or stay with his employer plan and receive a $5,000 policy with an additional $1,250 to invest in a portable health savings account. Why would people decline more benefits for less money? In contrast, Barack Obama's plan will shift tens of millions of Americans into a new government-run national public plan, increases taxes on businesses and drive down wages for workers, and exacerbate the current flaws in the system rather than improve them.

Highlights of the Obama Health Care Plan:

Barack Obama's Plan Covers Less Americans Than McCain Plan: Despite the enormous price tag and burdensome mandates, the Obama plan will cover 2 million less uninsured Americans than the McCain plan which allows American families – not government bureaucrats or insurance companies – to choose coverage that best meets their unique needs.

Barack Obama's Plan Continues The Push Toward Government-Run Healthcare: The Obama plan will create a brand new government-run health plan at the cost of $243 billion a year – a financial burden of more than $3,000 a year on American families.

Barack Obama's Plan Will Increase Premiums For Millions of Americans: The Obama plan will move more than 82 million Americans into plans that would cost more than they currently have as "[h]igh option PPOs as well as the national public plan would become dominant health plan offerings." So premiums will increase.

Barack Obama's Plan Will Harm Employer Coverage: The Obama plan includes a $179 billion a year employer mandate. The mandate requires employers to either provide "meaningful" coverage or pay a tax towards the government plan. Faced with tough economic conditions and rising health costs this creates a clear incentive for employers to drop coverage and move families into the new government plan. A Lewin Group study which examined a similar employer mandate combined with a national plan, like the Obama plan, concluded that almost 52 million individuals would lose their private employer coverage. To maintain their competitive edge, others employers will follow - spelling the demise of the employer coverage system.

Barack Obama's Plan Will Damage Private Coverage: The government-run plan will have a clear advantage over private insurance since it will be subsidized by American taxpayers. A recent analysis of both plans by the nonpartisan CATO Institute concluded that the Obama government-run plan will be able to "keep its premiums artificially low…since it can turn to the U.S. Treasury to cover any shortfalls" resulting in "undercutting the private market."According to Wall Street Journal, the goal of the Obama plan '…like HillaryCare in the 1990s, is to displace current private coverage and switch people to the default government option'."

Find more about McCain's health plan by clicking here.

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