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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Monday, May 19, 2008

McCain's self-help health care plan

By William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

With two political philosophies once again vying for the White House, the issue of America's health care "situation" is once again being re-visited – it's one of the premiere issues of the campaign. As you know, the potential Democratic nominees, Sens. Obama and Clinton, are both in favor of varying degrees of socialized medicine.

However, we haven't heard from Sen. John McCain on the issue. Since Obama and Clinton are busy tearing at one another, McCain has been happy to sit back and keep his political cards close to the vest. But now the first hints of his position are coming out – and in spite of McCain being painted as a political "maverick" who's "too liberal" to be a true Republican, his health care philosophy seems to be in the right – in both senses of the word.

McCain unveiled his health care stance during a recent visit to a Miami children's hospital, where he criticized his Democratic opponents for their "big government" approach to health care and said he planned to focus his efforts on reducing costs and increasing coverage.

America can have a health care system that is characterized by better prevention, coordinated care, electronic health records , cutting-edge treatments – and lower costs," McCain said. He added that the fundamental difference between his plan and either Democratic plan is that "they want the government to make the decisions; I want the families to make the decisions."

Obama and Clinton are both in favor of "universal" healthcare coverage for the 47 million Americans without health insurance. Clinton's plan would mandate some form of coverage (i.e., make it COMPULSORY) for all individuals; Obama would only make coverage compulsory for children. Either way, I think that the Clinton and Obama plans would both be bad news. (Read "Straight talk about universal healthcare.")

McCain's plan would include a tax credit of $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families, and would make it possible to buy coverage through any organization. It would reduce but not eliminate reliance on employer-provided plans. "I am convinced that the wrong way to go is to turn over your lives to the government and hope it will all be fine. It won't," McCain said.

In my opinion, McCain's plan isn't likely to win over any Democrats who have been put off by either Clinton or Obama. Why? Well, Democrats tend to WANT the government to take care of things for them. They love for the big government bureaucracies to take care of them. There is something phenomenally infantile in the thought process of many Democrats. And if you ask me, McCain's rational idea of giving tax credits — and giving you a say in the matter — will sound like too much work for many Democrats, and especially the uninsured.

Think about it: you're uninsured, either by choice or circumstance. There are two candidates. One candidate tells you he'll make healthcare cheaper and give you more access so you can make the decision on your own. The other candidate tells you, "we'll take care of your health care for you." Which do you think the uninsured will choose?

McCain's plan makes sense, but compared to the "big daddy government" message, it's likely to sound like a lot of work to people who don't have health insurance already. As is typical with many Democratic messages, it panders. I like McCain's plan, but he's going to need to make a more powerful case for it. Many people fear healthcare because of the potentially astronomical costs, and they're willing to give up their freedom of choice to have it taken care of for them.

McCain's got a long way to go to make his tax-credit-based plan more palatable to traditionally Democrat voters.


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