Who’s Lobbing the Cheap Shots about Our Health Care?

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This morning I watched This Week as John McCain was being interviewed.  It was clear many times that McCain was very uncomfortable with Georgie’s questions, most of which were legitimate about McCain’s policies and agenda.  He squirmed in his chair, dodged most of the answers.   In particular, the one about health care seemed to have gotten his hackles up when Elizabeth Edwards’ criticism was displayed on the screen.  

“He has not spent a single day not protected by a federal health plan, not a single day of his entire life, and yet he denigrates this care.”

She was referring to John McCain, who was first insured as the son of a Navy man, then as a Navy officer himself and finally as a member of Congress.

Here’s the link to the clip:


It’s about 13 minutes into the program.  If you wish to skip the video, quick synopsis from The Hill, after the jump.  

Stephanopoulos, noting Edwards’ recent comments about McCain in The Wall Street Journal, said, “Her point is why shouldn’t every American be able to get the kind of healthcare that members of Congress get and members of the military get?”

A smiling McCain said, “It’s a cheap shot but I did have a period of time where I didn’t have very good healthcare, I had it from another government. Look, I know what it’s like not to have healthcare.” McCain was referring to the five-and-a-half years he spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

OK, McSame has haven’t had health care every single day of his life, but he has since he returned from Vietnam.

Health Policy and Market blog has some good details that Georgie didn’t ask McSame about today:

McCain would end the current personal income exemption for employer provided health insurance and replace it with an individual tax credit for those who have health insurance. But there are tens of millions who are not covered today and do not have access to an  and therefore don’t have a personal exemption that can be reshuffled into a personal tax credit.

But here’s the problem:

There are tens of millions who are not covered today and do not have access to an employer contribution for health insurance and therefore don’t have a personal exemption that can be reshuffled into a personal tax credit. But what will the source of his funding be for those who today don’t have the benefit of the employer exemption but would be eligible for the tax credits? Moving the tax benefit of health insurance from the workplace to the individual as McCain does will likely encourage employers to drop their health programs and instead just give the health benefit contribution they were making to the worker in the form of wages.

Back to the ABC interview, McCain went on in the to say that “with all due respect to Mrs. Edwards,” the Democrats want the government to make our health care decisions and that’s how his plan differs from theirs. He says families need to make their own health decisions.  When asked about the tax credit not being enough to get good coverage, arrogantly he said, “well, the $5000K tax credit my plan would give families may not be enough, but it’s better than what they got now.   They can go across state lines and get cheaper insurance.”

McCain doesn’t get it.  Elizabeth Edwards identifies the problem correctly:

You say that under your plan everyone is going to pay less for health insurance. Nice words, I admit, but they are words we have heard before. You must know when American families calculate the actual cost of health care, they have to include those deductibles and co-pays and not just the cost of the insurance. Are you talking about cheaper overall or just a cheap policy that doesn’t kick in until after thousands of dollars of deductibles have been paid?  

Isn’t the type of competition you are talking about really a rush to the bottom? As long as you allow insurers to underwrite and deny access, you encourage insurers to offer plans that may be cheap, but that get that way by avoiding people with cancer or other high-cost diseases or by limiting benefits and treatments, particularly if the treatment is expensive or might be needed for a long time. We all live in the real world; those of us lucky enough to have health insurance have seen how insurers cut coverage and up co-pays or deny particular treatments. The insurance company makes money when it doesn’t have to pay for our health care. (I suspect that if they could, they would write obstetrical-only policies for nuns.) Doesn’t your plan really encourage insurers plans to compete to avoid people with cancer or other high-cost diseases? Don’t you think that the kind of competition that starts with a decent level of required coverage, that doesn’t exclude the care we actually need, would be better?

McCain also said the problem with government run health care was that it was inferior to us. “Go to Canada.  Go to England. ”   Yet, on a Frontline show this past week,  an investigation turned up that their health care is as good as ours.  Our problem is that we overpay because of the overhead costs: around 30%.   Medicare administration cost is 3%.

McCain knows he gets better care through the government and it is cheaper.  Yet the American people aren’t allowed to have coverage as he does.  

That’s a cheap shot to our American people, Mr. Cain McCain.

Update: Nedheads has a YT clip up (h/t to Nyceve at the Big O)

Cross-posted from the EENR Blog


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    • Benny on April 21, 2008 at 01:07

    Hope the Dems are watching the framing of the Rethugs on this.  We have to convince them that Republicans believe the American people are “lower than thou” in getting health care.  

  1. A smiling McCain said, “…Look, I know what it’s like not to have healthcare.” McCain was referring to the five-and-a-half years he spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

    I submit to you that health care insurance was the last of Mr. McCain’s concerns when he was a POW.

    If we’re going to get technical, it could be pointed out that Mr. McCain still HAD healthcare insurance, even though he did not have access to it.

  2. imho…

    and it just makes me nuts!!!!!!!!!! i saw a McCain sign on somebody’s lawn today.

    it makes me nuts despite the fact that i have said 100s of times that it doesn’t matter who becomes president… and while i believe that, McCain is clearly the worst of the three choices…

    and what really makes me nuts????? is that this truly is the lesser of three evils.

    we deserve better than this.

  3. of what a McCain health care strategy would be: nothing.

  4. health care. Most private health insurance companies spend about 15% on administration. Medicare spends 2% on administration. Much of what the private health insurance companies spend this money on is haggling with doctors, filtering out customers, rejecting expenses.

    America spends 15% of its GNP on health care–one of the highest in the world–but does not cover one-eighth of its people. Most other first world countries spend a far smaller share of its GNP and cover ALL their people. Putting profits before people is inefficient and not working. We are 37th in terms of health markers on the World Health Organization list.

    Whenever I see an envelope arriving with my health insurance company’s name on it, my blood pressure immediately spikes up. And I have good, solid employer-sponsored medical insurance from a Fortune-500-sized multinational company.

  5. can lob cheap shots about health care in a dying corrupt nation.  The system spends more money on datamining for conditions to deny coverage for.  The system spends more money on systematic coverage denials.


    HIPPA only prevents the ones you love from access to your medical records.


    And you do know that in this “post 911 world” big pharma companies capable of producing the latest and greatest in bio-weapons are in fact immune to lawsuits should their drugs take out some of us proles.


    There is even a globalwide assault on homeopathic remedies.


    Issues none of the manchurians  can talk about.

    • edgery on April 21, 2008 at 22:11

    at Center for American Progress here.  Boy, did McSame make a mistake when he decided to challenge Elizabeth Edwards!!

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