Monday, October 13, 2008


McCain vs. Obama on Health Care

Neither candidate favors a single-payer system like the one in Canada. Obama does not rule it out, but instead advocates some mild tinkering with our existing system in which employers provide subsidized health insurance as a fringe benefit. McCain would tax the employer's contribution to the subsidy but would grant a tax credit of $2500 per person or $5000 per family to buy insurance.

On the face of it, McCain's proposal is terrible because it would, in the long run, encourage employers to drop health care as a benefit and would encourage employees to agree to the change. However, the result might be so bad that the public would then clamor for a universal system, such as "medicare for all" instead of just the elderly. By making things worse, McCain's program might hasten the day when the nation will finally adopt a real universal health care system in which, in Obama's words, health care is considered a right, not a responsibility or privilege.

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