10/20/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

You Won't Believe this One: McCain on Making Healthcare More Like Banking

Over at Paul Krugman's blog, a correspondent uncovered, well, something that speaks for itself.

Some time ago, both campaigns were approached by the professional magazine for actuaries, Contingencies, which invited the candidates to present the virtues of their health reform plans. (For the uninitiated, actuaries are professionals charged to estimate long-term costs and risks in insurance and related matters. That somehow makes things funnier.)

Here is the money quote from Senator McCain:

Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation. Consumer-friendly insurance policies will be more available and affordable when there is greater competition among insurers on a level playing field. You should be able to buy your insurance from any willing provider -- the state bureaucracies are no better than national ones. Nationwide insurance markets that ensure broad and vigorous competition will wring out excess costs, overhead, and
bloated executive compensation.

Own goal!

Given the events of the past two weeks, Senator McCain may have discovered the shortest path to national health insurance. Lucky for him, these actuaries are probably a bit too busy evaluating what we hope are the "worst excesses" of extreme deregulation to notice his health plan these days.

Jonathan Stein calls this the most tone-deaf comment of all time. I say, Stein exaggerates. I once told my high school girlfriend that, yeah, she wore too much makeup. But man -- McCain comes in a close second. And this may be the most self-refuting paragraph of all time. I almost feel bad for him.