Thursday, September 18, 2008

McCain's Health Care Plan

I tend to use this blog to make an awful lot of snide, nasty comments about John McCain, so I figured I'd take a minute to say something nice. Actually, I've just seen a great deal of mostly negative discussion in the media over McCain's proposal tax employees health care benefits and I just wanted to weigh in with my two cents. It's a brave political move and the sort of idea that actually would drastically change how health care in this country works for what I believe is the better.

Much of the discussion misses the most important part of McCain's plan and that's to eliminate the government created difference in tax treatment between those who receive health insurance coverage through their employers and those who purchase it on their own. This is absolutely crucial. Currently, under our current tax code, health care benefits are not taxed as income, which is precisely why we have a system where the majority of people receive health insurance coverage through their employer. If however, you are self-employed or just have a job that doesn't offer health insurance, you have to purchase your health insurance out of your income which has already been taxed. In other words, the system has a built-in advantage for those who receive employer-provided health insurance. And the McCain plan is designed to level the playing field under the tax code, so to speak.

In the short term,that does mean health care benefits will be taxed, which does mean more money out of your paycheck. But in the long term, the idea is to create a more vibrant health insurance market, one in which individuals actually make decisions as consumers. Truth be told, I have no idea how it will all play out, but I do know it's a step in the right direction and an actual example of one of the candidates proposing a very real change.


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