Saturday, May 10, 2008


Whose Health Care Plan is Best?

Candidates Clinton, Obama, and McCain all offer plans to improve the existing health care system of our country. Clinton tries to achieve universal health care by simply requiring everyone to buy health insurance. Obama tries to make health insurance more affordable for low income residents. McCain offers the most radical proposal: decouple health insurance availability from employment and instead create insurance pools based on labor unions, organizations, and other definable groups.

I haven’t seen any details of McCain’s plan. I like the idea of separating health insurance from employment. I would like to believe that McCain’s advisors have in mind something like the system of health insurance of Germany. In Germany there are numerous insurance pools. An individual joins one of the pools and obtains health insurance. Because the pools are large, individuals can be insured without regard to pre-existing conditions.

I suspect that McCain’s advisors have not yet thought through the implications of their proposal. These pools should be operated with an incentive to provide needed and good quality medical care rather than an incentive to provide high dividends to share holders. Decisions about coverage should be made by medical experts rather than accountants. Pool managers should be rewarded according to the care paid for by the pool and not by the profit or the increase in the pool’s financial resources. It will take some thought to create such incentives for pool managers.

There are many things that McCain proposes doing if he becomes President. I oppose many of them. In particular, I oppose investing more lives and money in the Iraq project in the vain hope of eventual “victory.” I oppose making the Bush tax cuts permanent. Instead, the President and the Congress must be free to investigate any and all plans to reduce our growing national debt, if only to escape the situation in which all available revenue would have to be used to pay the interest. I oppose McCain’s presumed policy of appointing more ultra-conservatives to the federal courts. I have many reasons for voting against McCain this coming November.

However, I hope that whoever becomes President will take a close look at McCain’s proposal to create insurance groups that are not connected to employment. That looks like a good first step toward repairing our broken health care system.

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