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McCain’s Tax Credit Still Keeps Health Insurance Out Of Reach For Millions Of Families

By B. Furnas on July 3, 2008 at 11:42 am

"McCain’s Tax Credit Still Keeps Health Insurance Out Of Reach For Millions Of Families"

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This is part two in a series of blog posts explaining the findings of John McCain’s Radical Prescription for Health Care, a new paper from the Center for American Progress Action Fund. For more, check out part one.

John McCain’s health care plan would create a new health insurance tax credit worth $2,500 tax credit for individuals and a $5,000 credit for families.

But according to a new study, the one-size-fits-all tax credit fails to make insurance affordable for millions. It falls far short of covering premium costs for low income families and it ignores the higher premiums faced by individuals with existing illnesses, who are approaching middle age, or who live in states with higher medical costs.

For millions of families, it’s a five foot rope for a ten foot hole.

A $5,000 tax credit for a low income family is not enough to cover the average price of an insurance policy costing around $14,000. Many poor or near poor families would fail to use the credit at all because they wouldn’t be able to make up the difference in premium costs.

Additionally, older Americans, and those with pre-existing conditions, face much higher premiums in the private market, but John McCain’s credit does nothing to address this.

In fact, an analysis of CBO premium data finds that McCain’s credit would cover only a third of the premiums for individuals who need insurance the most:

McCain Premium Variation For Old And Sick

McCain’s $5,000 and $2,500 tax credits seem like a simple proposal: but it’s also simplistic and insufficient for the vast majority of Americans. It’s one-size-fits-nobody.

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