Sunday, October 26, 2008

Prez Health Care Policy Analysis

With 9 days left until the election, I'm actually starting to see articles that actually analyze the proposed policies of each of the presidential candidates. Imagine that? How about having an election based on differentiation of policy as opposed to personalities, or hype, or personal attacks, or anything else that you can think of.

Anyway, in today's Wall Street Journal online, the following is an excerpt from an article entitled, "Obama vs McCain: It's All About Your Money." In this article, there is analysis of policy issues like economic relief, income taxes, social security. Something this blog is interested in is the issue of health care. Here is that section below:
Sen. Obama proposes income-related subsidies for health insurance through a new national exchange, along with expanded access to Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and mandatory care for children. He would require employers that don't offer health coverage to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the national plan, with small businesses being exempt (and eligible for refundable tax credits on 50% of premiums).

Under this plan, premium payments for families would fall by about $185 and direct payments for health services by $253. The Lewin Group projects the Obama plan would reduce the number of uninsured by 26.6 million people in 2010, from 48.9 million.

Sen. McCain wants to replace the current income-tax exemption for health-insurance premiums paid by employers with a refundable tax credit of $5,000 per family ($2,500 for individuals). Any unused credit could be deposited into a Health Savings Account. His Guaranteed Access Plan (GAP) would allow people denied coverage to obtain insurance through state-run high-risk pools administered by private insurers, according to a report issued by the Joint Center for Political Economic Studies. Sen. McCain wants to allow people to purchase insurance across state lines, which could reduce the effectiveness of state regulations.

Under this plan, premium payments for families would increase by about $379 and direct payments for health services by about $105. "This would be more than offset by a net increase in tax subsidies of $1,570" and wage gains resulting from employer savings, the Lewin Group says. The Lewin Group projects that the McCain plan would reduce the number of uninsured by 21.1 million people.
The entire article is very good and I recommend it. However, in the specific area of health care, either candidate does not fully disclose how they will fully pay for their plan. We know that Congress approved at least $700 billion is going to banks and investment firms. 

But, what about health care, and I'm not talking about insurance companies, attorneys, and other people who don't work on the front lines of medicine. What about the docs? Oh yeah, both campaigns accusing the other side for proposing future medicare cuts. Yeesh, I should have studied to be a banking CEO....

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