McCain’s healthcare plan provides best coverage

At a time when 47 million Americans are uninsured, health care has arguably become the most important issue to voters across the country. John McCain has announced his proposal for giving more citizens access to health care, but itâÄôs clear that no candidate will be able to offer a quick fix to this massive problem. Both candidates have similarities in their plans, but McCainâÄôs encourages individual responsibility and free-market solutions while Barack ObamaâÄôs raises taxes and extends the long arm of government into small businesses where it doesnâÄôt belong. McCainâÄôs plan calls for several changes to the current system. First, a change in rules regarding health insurance providers will make health insurance itself more affordable. McCainâÄôs plan would allow citizens to purchase plans across state lines, which is currently prohibited. This allows consumers much more choice in the open and competitive market, where prices are subject to more scrutiny and evaluation. Additionally, McCain would make insurance plans portable from job to job, which is where many people lose coverage. The average American could have 10-15 different jobs before they turn 30, which means transferable health coverage is a must. McCain would also introduce new regulations requiring providers to offer more coverage to those with conditions that usually disqualify them for coverage. More must be done in the hospitals as well to keep costs under control. A primary change that is long overdue is the limiting of liability for doctors that follow medical guidelines and procedures. There must be a cap on the amount a patient can sue because thousands of good doctors âÄî including those that deliver newborns âÄî have been put into bankruptcy by greedy trial lawyers. While patients deserve the right to fair compensation, these frivolous lawsuits have forced doctors to pass high premiums that protect them on to consumers. Obama offers no mention of this in his plan. Emergency room visits are the most expensive of all forms of treatment, so limiting what can and what cannot be covered during a visit to the emergency room is a practical way to control costs. McCain supports the idea of sponsoring the building of more quick clinics in high traffic areas to keep people with treatable and minuscule illnesses out of the emergency room. McCain would create a national database that rates performance of hospitals in all areas of health care, giving consumers information so they can choose their own doctor. Federal action is part of McCainâÄôs plan to provide further access to health care. As president, he would offer a $2,500 tax credit to individuals to pay for coverage, and if they didnâÄôt use it, the coverage could go into a personal health savings account, allowing individuals to take charge of their own care. There would also be increased funding for covering those low-income citizens that qualify, and new incentives for states to provide pools to insure those that are traditionally uninsurable. McCain would allow more safe drugs to be imported from outside the United States in order to give consumers more choice, and also support streamlining the time it takes for cheaper generic drugs to hit the market. McCain would begin a much larger, nationally funded effort to reduce and prevent chronic diseases and behaviors like asthma, diabetes, obesity and smoking, which lead to 75 percent of all money spent on health care in the United States. These chronic, yet preventable diseases have lead to higher costs for everyone. Technology can also be a huge influence in reducing health costs across the board. New medical record keeping systems would allow patient data to be transferred, doctors to move around, and lower administrative overhead costs. Both candidates tend to agree on more funding for better information technology systems to improve care quality. There are a few problems with ObamaâÄôs plan that would put a further burden on some Americans. Obama would create new mandates on businesses which his campaign admits would cost up to $65 billion in new money. He would pay for them by raising taxes. Obama wants to force insurance providers to accept all applications they receive, and then charge about the same premiums for all customers. To put it another way, a 65-year-old obese man that smokes would pay about as much as a healthy young person, because cost disparity is unfair in his world. Small businesses would be forced to cover some or all of their employeesâÄô health plans or be charged a fine. In order to supervise the millions of small businesses that exist, billions would have to be spent on new ways to monitor all of them for compliance. Although Obama has claimed that his plan is not âÄúuniversal health careâÄù similar to CanadaâÄôs health-care system, he has supported such legislation in the Senate. Because this style of coverage is so unpopular, however, he has been forced to work with only a moderate platform of government mandates. This type of system in Canada has led to excruciatingly long wait times for MRI results and for intensive surgeries, not to mention sky-high tax rates. McCain has worked to reform health care before and heâÄôll continue this as president. His support of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in 1996 âÄî which simplifies administration of health insurance and improves continuity within group and individual markets âÄî is just one example of his actions to get more people the coverage they need. Andy Post welcomes comments at [email protected].