Remember John McCain?

Yes, Virginia, there is a Republican candidate. Amidst all the press coverage of Barack Obama’s crazy pastor and Hillary Clinton’s craven gas tax holiday, you can be forgiven for forgetting that John McCain is running for president too. But, his campaign is taking shape and doing so in ways that still make the Democratic nomination a thing worth having. McCain rolled out his health care plan this week. He described it as a "market-based" solution to the nation’s health care system. Aides called the plan "radical." McCain promises to give people "choice" and to introduce a greater degree of "competition." Unfortunately for McCain, the plan was described by news accounts as "similar to one that [President George W.] Bush put forth in his 2007 State of the Union address." Being linked to George Bush, whose job approval sits at 28% according to the most recent Gallup poll, is the kiss of death for McCain in the general election. But, what else can he do? In various ways, Bush has divided the GOP. Fiscal conservatives shudder at the growth of government spending in the past few years. The more isolationist wing of the party has grown disgusted by the endless war in Iraq. The anti-immigrant base of the GOP bucked Bush on comprehensive immigration reform. The two areas where Republicans still agree are taxes and government regulation of industry. So, McCain flip-flopped on taxes, now supporting the Bush tax cuts he voted against in 2001. And, on health care, he proposes a "market-based" solution to a problem the market has consistently made worse. McCain misreads the voters on health care. Especially with the economic downturn, they are looking for security, not competition. They would love "choice" but they have come to recognize that the current market-based system has diminished their choices in favor of corporate profits. And, by proposing to scrap the employer-based system we currently have, the "radical" part of the plan, he makes even those who are happy with their health care plans nervous. The debate on health care is a debate worth having. At a time when most of us look to our elders with envy because Medicare works better than any private health care plan, the idea of greater government involvement is not so scary. Democrats can usefully claim the moral high ground of offering plans that not only do something to help the poor and the ill, but which remind Americans that on some issues, we are all in this together and that only a solution that involves everyone can meet this pressing national concern. Some issues are too important to be left to the dictates of the market: McCain is not proposing that we privatize the war on terror, is he? The preamble to the Constitution says that government is formed, among other reasons, to promote the general welfare. For too long, the health care system has promoted the specific welfare of a few large insurance and pharmaceutical companies. McCain’s plan is a disaster, and the kind of disaster that is necessary and predictable for a GOP nominee. I do not see it swaying many independent voters in November. Anytime McCain finds himself linked to Bush, he should be nervous. Michael Sean Winters
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10 years 10 months ago
Any time a republican plan on anything comes out, it starts off with a tax credit. Tax credits are fine for those wealthy enough to pay for the insurance and get the credit. For most Americans however, the shrinking middle class, this is not an option. Health care is expensive, more then the price of McCain's tax credit, and the most important issue is having health care when you are laid off or lose your job due to illness. A self employed plumber may make enough to pay for health insurance and the tax credits would help him even more. But when he is injured, unable to work, has a house and car payment, it is not a time to lose medical coverage. With a family, that may be as much as $700 a month if they were all healthy, where does that come from when you are out of work? Add to the prescriptions that may or may not be covered. And we are seeing now where a single company becomes the sole distributor of a single medicine needed for the chronically ill. You have a prescription plan that has you pay 20%, which sounds reasonable until you find the price of your medication for arthritis just jumped to $3,300 a month. This has happened in America. Also McCain's plan seemed to also want to pin blame on those chronically ill. He mention diabetes caused by obesity. Type 2 diabetes can be caused by obesity, but it can also happen to skinny people. I guess the Senator is getting ready to propose a tax credit for gym membership to help the poor.
10 years 10 months ago
I am dismayed that the "America" staff assigned to screen the postings on this blog permitted Aaron's anti-American rants to be published. Would the staff have allowed equally offensive anti-Canadian comments to be posted? Reasonable minds can differ as to the comparative merits of the Canadian and American health care systems, but, in so doing, reasonable minds avoid engaging needlessly in (I am showing off my Jesuit training here) ad hominem arguments.
10 years 10 months ago
You couldn't be more mistaken. I'm from Canada. It was the mid sixties when we reached this very fork in the road, when we made the wrong choice and opted for socialized medicine. Now, we have such a second rate system - doctors move south, you wait in pain for a year for a hip replacement, every budget spends billions on health - over half the provincial budgets - meanwhile Canadians are taxed to death to pay for a second class system. And you'll fly south to try and be diagnosed at American clinics, manned by doctores trained at U of Toronto, but wisely chose to leave! In Calgary, eccentric old ladies go and jam up emerg with a cold, while a pregnant mom has a miscarriage in the waiting room. Medics wait with patients in halls, their ambulences parked. - some patients are in the hall for 2 days. Ernest Manning, Alberta Premier predicted the debacle if Canada opted for the Clinton type plan - he had a plan like McCain's. It would have saved medical care, where the real goal was to get insurance coverage - not a Soviet monstrosity! McCain's tax breaks would indeed cover - what? - the PREMIUMS! That's what poor Canadians even now are saddled with - meantime we pay 20% more taxes per person for a rotten system. McCain is right with a sustainable system that can retain its excellence. Would that Canada had done that.
10 years 10 months ago
I'm from Canada too and couldn't disagree with the above Canadian more. Currently I'm an "out-of work" carpenter due to a back injury and have found the system we have here to be excellent. Sure I may have to wait a few weeks or a month for an MRI or some in-demand test/specialist but have had access to specialists and operations without cost...I dont know much about the American system but I know it wouldn't have been free when I needed it most. Not only was it free but I dont have to worry whether or not my insurance company will approve an operation or medication or not because it would be more profitable for them to deny me coverage for some trivial reason than to pay for my health needs. There's a very good reason most of the modern world has universal health care, because it works and its fair....unlike the US system that is ranked just below Slovenia....what a joke. I cant imagine anyone wanting more of the same....especially as the age-wave is starting to retire and will be needing more and more health care. Glad I live in Canada, I pity you Americans that have a moron like Bush running your country soon to be replaced by the likes of Obama, Clinton or McCain...more of the same. You've got one candidate, Ron Paul, that actually seems to have his act together, but since he gets no media coverage because he isnt a puppet of Big Oil and other big special interest groups I dont see him as having a real chance to win. It's too bad that so many Americans are so illiterate and ignorant, being more interested in watching American Idol, football, and playing video games etc as the country falls apart around their ears. Anyway, just wanted to say McCain's health care proposal sounds like another losing idea for you guys, between that and his plan to have you guys dying in the middle east for another "100 years"...good luck!


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