Wednesday, April 30, 2008

McCain's Health Care Plan

A return to health care. Here are several unfavorable reviews of McCain's health care plans.

First, economist Tyler Cowen:

Trade aside, so far I've yet to see many actual policy proposals from the McCain camp. Mostly I've seen attempts to signal that they won't do anything too offensive to the party's right wing. Very few of these trial balloons seem to be ideas that McCain had expressed much previous loyalty to. I don't even think we should be analyzing these statements as policy proposals. We should be wondering why the Republican Party has given up on the idea of policy proposals.

Second, Jon Cohn:
Instead, McCain is offering people like Edwards what he calls a "Guaranteed Access Plan." But unlike all those awful big-government entitlements the Democrats are promising--you know, the ones that (supposedly) make you wait in long lines and cut off access to high-technology treatments--McCain says his plan will let the states handle the problem by working hand-in-hand with private insurers to offer insurance for people with pre-existing conditions.

It will be the best of both worlds, McCain promises: Affordable, available insurance, but through private carriers and without the heavy hand of Washington.

It all sounds very lovely--unless you know something about health care policy, in which case it sounds absolutely preposterous.
Third, Ezra Klein:

Give McCain this: His philosophy is clear. McCain believes that Americans use too much health care, and he has created a plan that will make care less affordable so millions of Americans will use less. He even has a euphemistic description for this approach: "The key to real reform," he says, "is to restore control over our health-care system to the patients themselves … These accounts put the family in charge of what they pay for."

That's undoubtedly true. Parents weighing an emergency room visit they can't afford no doubt realize that they are in charge of what they are paying for. They are certainly more "price sensitive." They are certainly not acting with the wanton disregard of an insured family who seeks care for their feverish child without a second thought. The question, of course, is whether this sort of cost sensitivity is desirable.

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