Thursday, October 23, 2008

Presidential Proposals

Just in case anyone is really reading this, I thought I'd post a brief summary of the presidential health care proposals. This is off the top of my head, and comes mostly from a professional meeting I attended this week. The speakers were campaign workers for each candidate.

Obama's plan: Obama's plan is NOT universal health insurance, as some have stated. If you have health insurance already, great, you can keep it. The "national plan" that Obama is proposing is not intended to cover everyone, but to give the uninsured an opportunity to purchase comprehensive coverage at an affordable price.

There are other things, changing laws which might help reduce the cost of prescription drugs, setting up a new government agency to oversee the whole thing, subsidies for the poor or those whose coverage is very expensive due to pre-existing conditions, etc., mandated coverage for children, etc.

My beef with Obama's plan? He contends this is all going to save us money. When questioned on this point, the representative stated that the prescription drug savings would be the source of the savings. OK, she said "A" source, but she didn't offer up any alternatives. IS HE SERIOUS? When is the last time a government agency was created and American taxpayers SAVED money?

I liked a lot of the Obama plan. But I wish he would be up front with us about the true cost, and how he intends to fund this thing.

McCain's Plan: McCain's plan does NOT do away with employer sponsored health plans, as some have suggested. NOR does it take away the tax favored status of such plans. It does change the way the tax status is handled. By making it a tax CREDIT, those with employer sponsored coverage may well take home less in their paychecks, but at the end of the year they would owe less in taxes. Surely the withholding tables would be adjusted to fix this. I venture that many people currently covered would see little change, although some of us would find ourselves paying taxes on a portion of that premium that is currently sheltered.

McCain also expands the tax credit to folks who buy health insurance on their own. Currently, if you buy your own coverage, you only get a tax break if your premiums plus any out of pocket expenses exceed a certain percentage each year. (I think it's 7.5%, but I'm not positive.) This is a huge break to those already purchasing individual coverage, but I'm not sure it's enough to convince the "working uninsured" to purchase coverage. I mean, it basically amounts to a 15% "discount" on the cost of the coverage (assuming a 15% tax bracket) and with the cost of individual coverage being so high, is this really much of an incentive?

My take: will have to wait a day, b/c it's late and my alarm clock is going haywire and I can sense my husband's tension all the way from the other end of the house.

1 comment: said...

LOVE your analysis. I like it when people are thorough and honest abou the good the bad and the ugly.

I'll put you on my rss feed!