Thursday, October 09, 2008

McCain’s Healthcare Plan is Clearly Superior

My eldest step-daughter is like her mother and sister: very pretty, and very smart. She is also a healthcare insurance expert, and favors McCain’s healthcare reform proposal over Obama’s, observing that all Obama proposes is putting another layer, the government, between the individual and their insurance provider.

Then at a later date the insurance provider would wither away, leaving you with no choices except to be a part of an expansion of Medicare and Medicaid (which are already bankrupt).

Obama’s plan would also leave the same old tired, wasteful, employer provided health insurance plan in effect which is increasingly inadequate in the modern world of changing jobs and employee mobility.

Although employer provided health plans have been tweaked and modified over the years in an attempt to better meet employee needs, in the final analysis it is like putting lipstick on a pig.

An example from my own experience: I worked for Lockheed in Sunnyvale, California, after I retired from the Air Force from 1984 until their big lay-off in 1994. During the entire ten-year period I worked for Lockheed, I and all my family members (including my late first wife Marilynn, who had breast cancer) had complete healthcare coverage through the Tricare Prime program because of my military service.

When I told Lockheed that I didn’t need their health insurance, and that they should just pay me instead of Kaiser Permanente the $5,000 annual cost of their healthcare plan, Lockheed said they couldn’t. Therefore Lockheed continued to unnecessarily pay for a healthcare plan for me, and my salary was lower because of its cost.

It could have been worse. One retired military veteran working at Lockheed was married to another Lockheed employee, so they both had unnecessary health insurance instead of additional pay. Getting nothing cost them about $10,000 a year!

However, we were the lucky ones when Bill Clinton slashed the military to cash the Peace Dividend caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resulting big defense contractor lay-offs. For most Americans, when you lose your job (or sometimes just change jobs) you lose your healthcare coverage. Even though Marilynn had breast cancer, and youngest son Jeffrey had asthma, our coverage under Tricare Prime continued.

Others weren’t so lucky, and for those of you who say that their coverage could be continued under COBRA, I suggest you try to survive while paying $1,000 a month for health insurance when you are living on unemployment checks that end after a few months. Which come first? The home mortgage, home insurance, car payment, car insurance, utility bills, food, or health insurance?

Be well.

As an excellent Wall Street Journal article on the candidates’ healthcare proposals concluded:

On choice, portability, quality and especially equity, the McCain health plan is far superior to Mr. Obama's. The Democrat is merely offering Canada on the installment plan.

No comments: