Prof helps McCain health plan

University finance professor Steve Parente contributed his knowledge to the senator’s plan.

Devin Henry

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain released details about his health care plan Tuesday, and he received a little help from a University professor along the way.

Finance professor Steve Parente has 20 years of experience studying the health care industry, and was a contributor to the Arizona senator’s plan.

“A lot of my research has been focusing on health insurance incentives,” he said, “and so I can take some of that work and estimate out who might get covered, what the costs might be and things like that.”

McCain’s plan, driven by tax credits for consumers and the ability to shop across state lines, comes amid continuing bickering between Democratic candidates U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Parente, who has been a registered Republican since before the 2000 elections, said he became intrigued with McCain during his 2000 bid for president.

“He really didn’t have much money and pretty much invited the press into his bus and said, ‘Let me just tell you tales from the Senate,’ ” Parente said. “There’s an entrepreneurial part of me that just likes people trying to be pretty frugal at getting the job done.”

Plans

John McCain
ï The hallmark of McCain’s plan is a tax credit as large as $2,500 dollars for individuals and $5,000 for families given to cover the costs of health care.
ï McCain also looks to allow consumers to purchase plans across state lines.
ï “This cooperation among states in the purchase of insurance would also be a crucial step in ridding the market of both needless and costly regulations, and the dominance in the market of only a few insurance companies,” McCain said in a speech outlining his plan.
ï Parente said the plan would also look at “health information technology” – better organizing medical records of patients and the work of doctors.
ï People assume that this is the case in health care,” Parente said. “They assume all of it’s linked somehow and there’s a giant computer in the sky – not so.”

Hillary Clinton
ï Like Obama, Hillary Clinton’s campaign Web site says she would allow people to either keep their current coverage or enroll in a national plan similar to those used by members of Congress.
ï Also similar to Obama’s plan is Clinton’s intention to “fix the holes” in Medicaid and SCHIP.
ï Clinton’s plan promotes “shared responsibility,” and would require all people to be covered by a health care plan.
ï Like McCain, Clinton promises tax credits to cover the costs of health care. These credits would be targeted at consumers as well as small businesses. Modernizing health care and ending certain tax cuts would help pay for Clinton’s plan. Clinton looks to “modernize health systems,” including health information technologies, Parente said.

Barack Obama
ï Barack Obama’s national health care plan would be available to all citizens, according to his Web site. The plan is “similar to the plan available to members of Congress,” the site reads.
ï Under his plan, adult enrollment is optional, but it would mandate that children be covered under some plan.
ï Obama would expand programs like Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which cover low-income families.
ï A fact sheet from the campaign says that Obama’s plan would cost $50 to $65 billion a year. The average family would save $2,500 by “cutting waste, improving technology, expanding coverage to all Americans, and paying for some high-cost cases.”