THE BLOG

McCain's Healthcare Plan: From A Nuclear Perspective

06/19/2008 02:30 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In a previous post on McCain's proposal for a reliance on nuclear power plants all over the country I cited the potential damage that we would see in the event of a catastrophic accident or terror attack. The medical crisis we would face would make Chernobyl look like a fender bender; with many Americans uninsured the burden will fall on the taxpayers to cover the treatment of the resulting cancer clusters and radiation poisoning. Failing a massive federal bailout we will watch in horror as a Katrina like response from our medical infrastructure unfolds.

If we examine the McCain nuclear plant endorsement and his insurance plan's inadequacies, we can see the potential harm to American citizens a McCain presidency would pose. The essence of his plan is a restatement of the Bush reliance on nuclear power as a green solution.

McCain's tax-credit-based health coverage proposal fails to deliver universal coverage. He spoke on it recently. "But I won't create another entitlement program that Washington will let get out of control. I won't do it. Nor will I saddle states with another unfunded mandate."

A CNN analysis states,"He (McCain) focuses on expanding access for individuals and families but would not require people to carry health insurance. To varying degrees, Democrats want to make health coverage mandatory."

Harvard Business School professor Regina Herzlinger, a proponent of consumer choice in health care and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, says McCain's plan is both "not enough and too much." That is, the tax credit is too high for healthy individuals and too low for those with chronic illnesses. She also feels the plan does little to address the high cost of health care.

Don't expect a McCain Healthcare proposal to resemble the Clinton Healthcare proposal, often hailed as the best of the lot. The Arizona Senator and his current economic advisor, Phil Gramm, worked in tandem to derail Sen. Hillary Clinton's original Healthcare plan when she proposed it as First Lady.

"We couldn't get any press coverage in Washington, DC, so we traveled all over the country, to the regional media markets," says Gramm. In 150 meetings at hospitals and clinics, McCain and Gramm relentlessly pounded the Clinton plan, helping fire the voter outrage that killed the plan in 1994."

With Barack Obama's recent announcement that he would work closely with Elizabeth Edwards, who originally backed Hillary Clinton because of her healthcare proposal's absolute universal coverage, it is likely that Obama's final plan, though close to Clinton's initially, will mirror her plan in its final iteration. The fact that Obama has remained mute on the nuclear power plant issue while touting an energy plan that stresses green solutions gives hope that he won't capitulate to the corporate interests who would see a windfall from the construction and operation of nuclear plants.

The process of going nuclear has already begun under Bush and unless we citizens push back now, the research dollars we hope would go to promising alternative energy sources will be a windfall for the corporations who push nuclear power as our only option. John McCain has mimicked the Bush plans in so many areas that he lends credence to the charges that a McCain administration would amount to a third Bush term, a prospect that most Americans don't relish.