McCain unveils health-care plan

The Problem: Current Health Care Costs Too Much

The health care available to Americans is not the problem, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Thursday in a speech to Rotary Club members in Des Moines, Iowa, where he presented his proposed health-care reforms.

“The biggest problem with the American health-care system is that it costs too much, and the way inflationary pressures are actually built into it,” he said. “The growth of costs affects everyone: government overspending, business costs and family budgets.”

Some statistics he cited:

  • Americans currently spend $2.2 trillion – 16 cents on the dollar – on health care costs
  • By 2015, the number will nearly double, to $4 trillion
  • By 2017, more money will be going out of Medicare than is going in
  • By 2019, Medicare will be “broke”

McCain’s Plan

“I offer a genuinely conservative vision for health-care reform, which preserves the most essential value of American lives – freedom,” McCain said. “We believe that free people may voluntarily unite, but cannot be compelled to do so, and that the limited government that results best protects our individual freedom.”

The three goals of his plan:

  • Paying only for quality medical care
  • Having insurance choices that are diverse and responsive to individual needs
  • Restoring our sense of personal responsibility for our health

Details of the plan include:

  • We need alternatives to doctors’ offices and hospitals, such as quick, inexpensive walk-in clinics, or using Web technology to allow doctors to practice across state lines
  • Hospitals must do a better job of taking care of us while we are there, and commit fewer deadly and costly medical errors
  • Pharmaceutical companies must worry less about squeezing more money out of old drugs by copying the last successful one, and concentrate more on innovative medicines
  • Insurance companies should spend more on health care and less on “administration”
  • Patients must only pay for quality
  • Veterans must receive better care
  • The billing system should be simplified – we should pay only one bill for quality health care, instead of a dizzying flurry of bills for pre-surgery visits, routine check-ups, lab work and prescriptions
  • Every provider of health care should be held accountable for its actions, and all medical transactions should be recorded in a transparent manner
  • Individuals and families should receive tax credits for having health insurance

How this differs from the Dems’ plans

McCain’s plan seems to focus more on simplifying the governmental aspects of health care, and making it more cost-efficient (and thus available) for all patients, while at the same time bestowing the responsibility of accessing and utilizing that health care upon the individual. Contrarily, most of the Democrats’ plans focus on some sort of universal health care in which all Americans are required to participate, regardless of cost. (As McCain said, using substantial tax hikes to pay for it.) Another difference is McCain’s emphasis on diversity of insurance choices. With universal health care, everyone would receive generally the same type of coverage, while McCain’s plan is to allow for a multitude of types of coverage, thus enabling patients a choice that best suits their needs and budgets.

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