Monday, February 25

John McCain's Healthcare Policy

As the Democrats focus on covering the uninsured with their health care plans, McCain is taking a different approach to the health care crisis. He is focused on cost. More specifically, the cost of chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma and CAD which account for 75% of the US' entire $2 trillion health care bill.

McCain believes that bringing costs under control is the only way to provide affordable health insurance, save Medicare and Medicaid, protect private health benefits for retirees, and allow our companies to effectively compete around the world. Here are the three main elements of his plan:

Put families in charge of their health care dollars and give them more control over their care while improving the quality of care and lowering costs by promoting competition

  • Take better care of our citizens with chronic illness and promote prevention that will keep millions of others from ever developing deadly and debilitating disease.

  • Provide access to health care for all our citizens---whether temporarily or chronically uninsured, whether living in rural areas with limited services, or whether residing in inner cities where access to physicians is often limited.

  • Give Veterans the freedom to choose to carry their VA dollars to a provider that gives them the timely care at high quality and in the best location.

  • Reform federal policy and programs to focus on quality while controlling costs

  • Promote competition throughout the health care system between providers and among alternative treatments.

  • Give patients a larger role in both prevention and care, putting more decisions and responsibility in their hands.

  • Give public more information on treatment options and require transparency by providers regarding medical outcomes, quality of care, costs, and prices.

  • Facilitate the development of national standards for measuring and recording treatments and outcomes.

  • Reform the payment systems in Medicare to compensate providers for diagnosis, prevention, and care coordination. Medicare should not pay for preventable medical errors or mismanagement.

  • Dedicate federal research on the basis of sound science resulting in greater focus on care and cure of chronic disease

  • Give states the flexibility to experiment with: alternative forms of access; risk-adjusted payments per episode covered under Medicaid; use of private insurance in Medicaid; alternative insurance policies and insurance providers; and, different licensing schemes for medical providers.

  • Build genuine national markets by permitting providers to practice nationwide.

  • Support innovative delivery systems, such as clinics in retail outlets and other ways that provide greater market flexibility in permitting appropriate roles for nurse practitioners, nurses, and doctors.

  • Where cost-effective, employ telemedicine, and community and mental health clinics in areas where services and providers are limited.

  • Foster the development of routes for safe, cheaper generic versions of drugs and biologic pharmaceuticals. Develop safety protocols that permit re-importation to keep competition vigorous.

  • Pass tort reform to eliminate frivolous lawsuits and excessive damage awards.
    Protect the health care consumer through vigorous enforcement of federal protections against collusion, unfair business actions, and deceptive consumer practices.

John McCain believes that insurance reforms should increase the variety and affordability of insurance coverage available to American families by fostering competition and innovation.

  • Reform the tax code to eliminate the bias toward employer-sponsored health insurance, and provide all individuals with a $2,500 tax credit ($5,000 for families) to increase incentives for insurance coverage. Individuals owning innovative multi-year policies that cost less than the full credit can deposit remainder in expanded health savings accounts.

  • Families can purchase health insurance nationwide, across state lines, to maximize their choices, and heighten competition for their business that will eliminate excess overhead, administrative, and excessive compensation costs from the system.

  • Insurance should be innovative, moving from job to home, job to job, and providing multi-year coverage.

  • Require any state receiving Medicaid to develop a financial "risk adjustment" bonus to high-cost and low-income families to supplement tax credits and Medicaid funds.

  • Allow individuals to get insurance through any organization or association that they choose: employers, individual purchases, churches, professional association, and so forth. These policies will be available to small businesses and the self-employed, will be portable across all jobs, and will automatically bridge the time between retirement and Medicare eligibility.

John McCain Believes in Personal Responsibility
  • We must do more to take care of ourselves to prevent chronic diseases when possible, and do more to adhere to treatment after we are diagnosed with an illness.

  • Childhood obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure are all on the rise. We must again teach our children about health, nutrition and exercise.

  • Public health initiatives must be undertaken with all our citizens to stem the growing epidemic of obesity and diabetes, and to deter smoking.

via John McCain 2008


Melissa said...

I agree with this way of thinking, particularly tort reform and alternatives to medicine (is it less expensive to reimburse someone for a successful weight loss program or to pay for a lifetime of diabetic, cholesterol or blood pressure medication?).

And, while I have no idea how this would actually work, it is a great idea to offer group insurance outside of your employer so when you switch jobs there is no waiting period until health insurance benefits kick in.

I still can't help but think that there is no quick fix for this crisis no matter who sits in the oval office. Greedy insurance companies and money hungry lawyers and their clients have caused so much damage, I just don't see us ever fully resolving this issue in my lifetime. I'd love to see some lawmakers prove me wrong.....

Anonymous said...

My comments are only my opinion, and I admit that I do not have all the facts. Therefore, I am happy to consider information that I may not possess. Nevertheless, I think what I have to say is an important balance to the discussion I've seen so far.

Have you thought of the implications of buying insurance outside your employer? Yes, you might have more of a choice. You may be able to find an insurer that meets your specific needs at a competitive rate among thieves; however, this choice comes at a cost.

Through your company insurance plan, you receive a tax benefit. The portion paid by your employer is currently tax free. In other words, you'll simultaneously give yourself a pay cut and raise your taxes. If you buy insurance outside of your employer, you are on your own.

According to the McCain plan, you will receive a fully refundable tax credit of $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families. Think of the cost you don't pay for your company-based insurance.

Have you ever had to buy COBRA? I was offered that choice in 2002 and 2003. If I understood what I read, the rate was around $800/month. Let's crunch a few simple numbers. At the stated rate, you will pay a minimum of $9,600/year. How will McCain's plan help you to defray that cost? What disturbs me most is that I see no discussion of this ramification in the McCain plan.

Maybe you've already thought about this implication. If that's the case, please excuse what may appear as a condescending assumption on my part. I do not mean to come across that way. If you haven't thought about these implications, I urge you to think about how it will affect your bottom line.

Finally, I'm not limiting this exhortation to McCain's plan. Apply it to both plans. All of us (me included) need to think beyond the sophistry of political talking points. Thank you.

In the trenches with you,

Bill Graham


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