McCain's health care proposal is Obama's last hope
Obama's campaigning again. Again. Again as in we've seen this one before haven't we?
I thought it would be instructive on the eve before Obama speaks to us about his health care plan, to re-examine Obama's health care plan. Or in other words, let's revisit Obama in Obama's own words when he was campaigning to be your President...
From the 2008 Presidential Debate
MCCAIN: Well, it is a terribly painful situation for Americans. They're seeing their premiums, their co-pays go up. Forty-seven million Americans are without health insurance in America today.
And it really is the cost, the escalating costs of health care that are inflicting such pain on working families and people across this country. And I am convinced we need to do a lot of things.
We need to put health care records online. The V.A. does that. That will -- that will reduce costs. We need to have more community health centers. We need to have walk-in clinics.
The rise of obesity amongst young Americans is one of the most alarming statistics that there is. We should have physical fitness programs and nutrition programs in schools. Every parent should know what's going on there.
We -- we need to have -- we need to have employers reward employees who join health clubs and practice wellness and fitness.
But I want to give every American family a $5,000 refundable tax credit. Take it and get anywhere in America the health care that you wish.
Now, my old buddy, Joe, Joe the plumber, is out there. Now, Joe, Senator Obama's plan, if you're a small business and you are able -- and your -- the guy that sells to you will not have his capital gains tax increase, which Senator Obama wants, if you're out there, my friend, and you've got employees, and you've got kids, if you don't get -- adopt the health care plan that Senator Obama mandates, he's going to fine you.
MCCAIN: Now, Senator Obama, I'd like -- still like to know what that fine is going to be, and I don't think that Joe right now wants to pay a fine when he is seeing such difficult times in America's economy.
Senator Obama wants to set up health care bureaucracies, take over the health care of America through -- as he said, his object is a single payer system.
If you like that, you'll love Canada and England. So the point is...
SCHIEFFER: So that's your objective?
OBAMA: It is not and I didn't describe it...
MCCAIN: No, you stated it.
OBAMA: I just...
MCCAIN: Excuse me.
OBAMA: I just described what my plan is. And I'm happy to talk to you, Joe, too, if you're out there. Here's your fine -- zero. You won't pay a fine, because...
OBAMA: Zero, because as I said in our last debate and I'll repeat, John, I exempt small businesses from the requirement for large businesses that can afford to provide health care to their employees, but are not doing it.
I exempt small businesses from having to pay into a kitty. But large businesses that can afford it, we've got a choice. Either they provide health insurance to their employees or somebody has to.
Right now, what happens is those employees get dumped into either the Medicaid system, which taxpayers pick up, or they're going to the emergency room for uncompensated care, which everybody picks up in their premiums.
The average family is paying an additional $900 a year in higher premiums because of the uninsured.
So here's what we do. We exempt small businesses. In fact, what, Joe, if you want to do the right thing with your employees and you want to provide them health insurance, we'll give you a 50 percent credit so that you will actually be able to afford it.
If you don't have health insurance or you want to buy into a group plan, you will be able to buy into the plan that I just described.
Now, what we haven't talked about is Senator McCain's plan. He says he's going to give you all a $5,000 tax credit. That sounds pretty good. And you can go out and buy your own insurance.
Here's the problem -- that for about 20 million people, you may find yourselves no longer having employer-based health insurance. This is because younger people might be able to get health insurance for $5,000, young and healthy folks.
Older folks, let's healthy folks, what's going to end up happening is that you're going to be the only ones left in your employer-based system, your employers won't be able to afford it.
And once you're out on your own with this $5,000 credit, Senator McCain, for the first time, is going to be taxing the health care benefits that you have from your employer.
And this is your plan, John. For the first time in history, you will be taxing people's health care benefits.
By the way, the average policy costs about $12,000. So if you've got $5,000 and it's going to cost you $12,000, that's a loss for you.
Last point about Senator McCain's plan is that insurers right now, the main restrictions on what they do is primarily state law and, under Senator McCain's plan, those rules would be stripped away and you would start seeing a lot more insurance companies cherry-picking and excluding people from coverage.
That, I think, is a mistake and I think that this is a fundamental difference in our campaign and how we would approach health care.
SCHIEFFER: What about that?
MCCAIN: Hey, Joe, you're rich, congratulations, because what Joe wanted to do was buy the business that he's been working for 10-12 hours a day, seven days a week, and you said that you wanted to spread the wealth, but -- in other words, take Joe's money and then you decide what to do with it.
Now, Joe, you're rich, congratulations, and you will then fall into the category where you'll have to pay a fine if you don't provide health insurance that Senator Obama mandates, not the kind that you think is best for your family, your children, your employees, but the kind that he mandates for you.
That's big government at its best. Now, 95 percent of the people in America will receive more money under my plan because they will receive not only their present benefits, which may be taxed, which will be taxed, but then you add $5,000 onto it, except for those people who have the gold-plated Cadillac insurance policies that have to do with cosmetic surgery and transplants and all of those kinds of things.
And the good thing about this is they'll be able to go across America. The average cost of a health care insurance plan in America today is $5,800. I'm going to give them $5,000 to take with them wherever they want to go, and this will give them affordability.
This will give them availability. This will give them a chance to choose their own futures, not have Senator Obama and government decide that for them.
This really gets down to the fundamental difference in our philosophies. If you notice that in all of this proposal, Senator -- government wants -- Senator Obama wants government to do the job.
Senator Obama wants government to do the job. I want, Joe, you to do the job.
MCCAIN: I want to leave money in your pocket. I want you to be able to choose the health care for you and your family. That's what I'm all about. And we've got too much government and too much spending and the government is -- the size of government has grown by 40 percent in the last eight years.
We can't afford that in the next eight years and Senator Obama, with the Democrats in charge of Congress, things have gotten worse. Have you noticed, they've been in charge the last two years.
Now aside from the painful trip down memory lane when McCain did his "Joe the plumber" bit, I can't help but notice that one of two things will assuredly happen when Obama delivers his speech to a joint session of Congress.
1) We will get John McCain's health care proposal, or...
2) We will watch Custer's last stand
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Homestead, Florida, United States