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Linda Bergthold

Linda Bergthold

Posted: October 4, 2008 12:03 PM

Who is the Radical on Health Care? McCain or Obama?


A Republican plan radical? Can't be. But it is. Even McCain's own advisors call his plan radical. Barack Obama is launching a direct attack on the radical aspects of McCain's proposed health reform plan. The most radical part of McCain's plan, and the most counter-intuitive to many conservatives, is that McCain proposes to remove the tax exemption for employer-paid health benefits. That means that if you get your health insurance through your employer, you would now have to account for those benefits as taxable income.

McCain proposes to give you a tax credit to help out, but the tax credit he proposes covers less of the shortfall than that hospital gown they make you wear. Your backside will be exposed!

And even worse, your employer may decide to drop sponsorship of your insurance, forcing you to go out an buy health insurance as an individual. If you have ever had to do that, you know how hard that is. Any medical condition you might have had would now be "pre-existing" and insurance could be denied you or your rates could be increased substantially.

In contrast to this radical McCain plan, Obama's plan is pretty simple -- 1) If you have insurance through your employer, you can keep it. 2) If you want to buy health insurance on your own, he will reform the insurance rules so you can't be turned down for prior medical conditions 3) Obama will offer you the opportunity to a plan through a Health Insurance Exchange that will offer you benefits much like what Congress gets. And you can bet those benefits are good!

You will no doubt hear that Obama wants to socialize medicine. That he is proposing a big government takeover of health care. As Biden would say, "That's malarkey." The oldest attack in the world is to call something socialism. (The same guys who will be throwing that at you are the same ones who just voted to socialize Wall Street!) Obama does notpropose a big new government plan. His plan would rely on the same doctors and hospitals we have today but give you more choice. He would require that preventive care be covered, that children be covered, and that employers kick in to pay their part. These are not radical ideas. They represent main street values.

So don't be fooled by the attacks that will fly in the next few days. The Republican candidate John McCain is the one who proposes to turn the system upside down and increase your taxes. It's a goofy thought, but it's true. McCain's plan would not only overturn the employer-based health insurance that is so unique to America, his taxation proposals would likely cause 20 million people to lose that insurance and be forced to buy insurance on their own. Don't take it from me. Read the fine print for yourself.