Where Is McCain’s ‘Comprehensive’ Health Care Plan?

Our guest blogger is James Kvaal, Domestic Policy Advisor at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

mccainEarlier this week, Elizabeth Edwards wondered whether John McCain’s health care plan would cover people with costly diseases – like Edwards and McCain themselves.

According to the McCain campaign, Edwards did not understand “the comprehensive nature” of McCain’s plan. But it turns out that McCain advisors themselves are struggling to figure it out, according to today’s Boston Globe:

Lately, some of McCain’s aides have said he might try to divert some Medicaid funds into a program that would help people with preexisting conditions, but his advisers can’t yet say how such a program would work or how many people would be covered.

“These are real questions, and I think there will be answers, and there better be, but they are not there yet,” said McCain adviser Thomas P. Miller, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. “A lot more remains to be hammered out.”

Indeed, while McCain talks about having a comprehensive healthcare plan, many of the details are being debated within the campaign as aides try to determine how to pay for McCain’s promises.

The problem is simple: insurance companies profit from covering healthy people but not sick ones. Sick people can get coverage as a part of a group, such as a job or through a government program, but often struggle if left on their own. The McCain plan will make the problem worse by raising taxes on employer-provided health care, reducing the number of people covered through their jobs, and by deregulating the insurance market, undercutting even the inadequate consumer protections that exist now.

It’s no wonder McCain aides are having troubling squaring that circle.